One of the joys of living at a latitude of 55.953251 is that the change in seasons every year is really quite dramatic. It is a marvellous source of conversational material – almost every interaction I have had this past week has been punctuated by references to the current change in the season. ‘It’s definitely getting lighter’, said with a contented smile, has been the staple introduction to many a conversation in the street with neighbours lately – and the follow-up, a few days’ later, of ‘It’s getting even lighter!’, is equally satisfying. Conversation on the topic of the seasons is trumped only by the weather, as in ‘Gosh, it is windy today!’ … and even in these circumstances, we find ourselves turning back, with unadulterated pleasure, to the issue of the light, and remarking how, yes, it definitely is getting even lighter.
Of course, none of this should be a surprise – the earth has been orbiting the sun for millions of years, maintaining (we suppose) the tilt that means a single spot on the earth will become progressively further away from the sun, and then closer, every single earth year since (literally) forever. Surely by now we should be used to it? Surely by now the change in the seasons should have lost its lustre?
And yet – what joy these changes bring! The change in the light brings the thrill of finding that exact moment when the streetlamps start popping off, one by one, on the walk to or from regular school drop-offs. It brings, too, changes in nature, and the excitement of seeing a snowdrop again for the first time in 12 months, or spotting the first buds on trees. Yes, it is still cold – and there will be spells of iciness ahead, because there always are in March (and April, for that matter …) – but goodness me! The delight brought by the freshness of the green of the shoots, and the anticipation of that long-awaited whiff of glorious blossom … what is there not to love about this time of year?
I could turn this into a metaphor for rebirth, inexorable forward movement, hope, and optimism … it is all of those, and more, of course. But it is also, quite simply, beautiful and amazing. Savour the moment; we are lucky to live on this incredible planet.