On Sunday, bubbling pans on the hob, we had the kitchen windows open to let out the steam. A soft rain fell outside, the gentle putter of the falling drops punctuating by the occasional ding of a larger drop hitting the ladder hung up on the wall. Across the dusk, the song of a blackbird filled the kitchen, like a soloist with the rain as its orchestra. As one, we all paused, and listened, entranced. A blackbird’s song is my favourite but even so, this was something special. I think perhaps, somewhere deep down, I had felt that spring might be silent this year – that the devestation wrought by the pandemic had somehow wiped all life from the earth.
On early morning bike rides this week, the river has been full of birdsong, and small mammals skittering across my path in the thin, pre-dawn light. Writing up my notes in the car one morning at work, a blue-tit flew down and perched on my wing mirror, pecking at his reflection. What a treat! I think, like many people, I have found the familiar signs of spring, a welcome mood-booster. Who can be down when faced with a daffodil or a daft blue-tit? At the hospital, they are winding down the first phase of staff covid vaccinations as most people have received theirs. In a little while they will ramp up again for the second phase, but it signals what has been achieved in the last couple of months. I listen to the dissections of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown on the radio, and really feel, maybe, this time, we might finally be on the home straight of getting back to some sort of normality.