How pleasing to Spring out

The older one grows, the greater the gladness experienced upon those early encounters with Spring, I have found.

Monday, 13th March 2017, 6:21 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:52 am
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman

Mostly down to practical considerations, it must be said. A kneecap cleft neatly in twain two decades ago is grown long accustomed to spending the dark, damp, cold months reminding me of its fundamental frailty, and don’t even get me started on the matter of feet – various circulatory issues leave me largely unaware I have a pair from December to February. Then, of course, there are the more direct impacts of the weather. From sub-zero drenchings to icy pavements, car scraping to wet socks at work, there is little the sane citizen is not delighted to wave goodbye for a few months.

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Incidentally, although we didn’t have much ice at all to speak of this Winter passed, yours truly was lucky enough to locate a small but treacherous patch while on a moonlit run just before Christmas. Naturally I took full advantage to perform an impromptu ragged cartwheel across the pavement and on to the adjacent carriageway, the devastating consequences of which (knackered right ankle and knee, clunking left hip) have been constant and tedious companions ever since. Happily, not all of that aforementioned joy is confined to the grubby earth of failing or flailed physiology. The sweet sunrise serenade of our returning birds, for example, yields us no physical relief or benefit which can readily be identified, and yet how that dawn chorus lifts the heart through March and into April (this fades rapidly once Summer gets underway and the noisy flying vermin are bellowing through your open window from around 4am every morning).

The splashes of colour sprouting along the verges too have no analgesic or curative properties that I know of, and yet a mere glimpse is generally enough to put a spring in one’s stride, that unique ‘spring’ – borne of optimism and a pervading sense of potential – from which the season likely derives its name.

As the philosopher Bernard Williams observed, the day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.