All the hours of the day

Spring equinox has passed, mostly unheralded but the effects widely appreciated. Coinciding with a glorious spell of sunshine, the percentage of the population out of doors has rapidly increased, the clement conditions dispelling the gloom of the end of winter and the destructive political season we have suffered through.

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Hope and steadfastness are the feelings of the season. New life abounds and there is reason again to get close to ground level to see what life has to offer. Tiny purple and yellow blooms push from cracks in the garden’s paving, declaring themselves ready for what the year has in store. Previously gangly legged lambs in the fields have lost their initial vulnerability and have begun to explore their small worlds, ever increasing their range away from mother. Spiders and ants burst forth from the leaf litter, completing their tasks beyond my ken, birds battle with trees to select and steal the best twigs for nests. The world is busy and bustling once again.

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The longer evenings offered by British Summer Time have heralded the return of post work last light adventures, all of us keen to make the most of the spell of sun. Chucking the dog into the van, we headed south to St Catherine’s Hill and its panoramic views of downland, field and sea. Perched on the edge of precipitous slope, we listened as the cows protested their processing on the dairy farm at the foot of the hill, watched as owls swept across a ridge below us, large in flight but diminutive once perched on the branches of the wind-warped trees.

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Spring then summer stretch out before us at this turning point of the year. The hills and valleys, coast and cliff call stronger than the book by the fire. Plans are made and challenges accepted, ready to make the most of what 2017 will bring. It’s time to make the most of the days, listen to the birds’ early morning alarm and get out into the sunshine.

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