Sunday, 6 March 2011

Spring is in the Air

What a beautiful day. It must have been, because my gloves went in my pocket; scarf was loosened around the neck and the woollen hat came off. Blue skies with just a smattering of white fluffy clouds. Spring is in the air. Some people say that their favourite time of the year is Winter. Not me. Never has been. Never will be. I usually can't wait for March and the beginning of a rejuvenated landscape. The beginning of warmer days. Colour returning to a bland world.

Nottingham Arboretum 6th March 2011
It must be Sunday, as I'm in the Arboretum again. I sit on a park bench at the top of the main walkway - it's another of those, "That's my seat". Pathetic.

I listen to a variety of wonderful bird songs coming from the myriad of trees, and wish that I'd have taken the trouble years ago to learn to recognise them. As I'm writing this I've just Googled 'bird songs', and I now no longer know whether I've been listening to bird songs, or bird calls. I've also learnt the difference between Birdwatching (or Birding) and Ornithology. Wikipedia says,

"The distinction between songs and calls is based upon complexity, length and context. Songs are longer and more complex and are associated with courtship and mating, while calls tend to serve such functions as alarms or keeping members of a flock in contact". So, I have no idea whether I've been listening to songs or calls, but whatever, it was a beautiful sound.

The Crocus plants, with their gold, blue, purple and white colours, were out in force, and matched beautifully the background of a new, spring grassy bank. Daffodils seem to be 7 - 10 days away from full bloom, but in one tiny sheltered area of the park, a few flowers had burst forth into the world (as picture above). Daffodils are one of my favourite flowers. The interest in Daffodils is shared by who say,

"One thing is certain about Daffodils - whatever the weather, they are the true sign that Spring is at last pushing away the dull, grey days of winter. Seemingly unperturbed by their long sleep beneath freezing soil, they burst forth to cheer us up with a magnificent splash of colour".

Trees are beginning to show buds, and the next few weeks will certainly make a difference, but today is about spring is in the air. The signs are of hope and progress. The winter corner is being turned, and I look forward to my favourite silver birch tree becoming fully clothed.

Nature is so wonderful, isn't it? "He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder". There are many contrasting views about nature. The Theistic view has been expounded by Bishop John Austin Baker, one time Bishop of Salisbury, and Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford in his essay, 'Biblical Views of Nature'. In this he says,

"Humanity's proper control over nature is made possible because the realisation that God is One and Supreme, and therefore transcendent, effectively desupernaturalises the world, ridding it of superhuman personal power, whether divine or demonic, and placing humans in a position to use their powers rationally in dealing with nature".

William Wordsworth
On the other hand, poets such as Coleridge, Goethe, Tennyson and Wordsworth tended to take a Pantheistic view, which was that the Universe (Nature) and God are identical. Pantheists do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god.

To Claude Monet, "The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration".

I will close with a poem. I have resisted wandering lonely as a cloud, and viewing hosts of golden Daffodils, but I feel in a funny mood, and am experiencing something of the romanticism of Wordsworth - a word that is not often, if ever used to describe me. So, I hope that you enjoy this piece by Wordsworth.

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sat reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran,
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths,
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air,
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from Heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

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