Spring is a season that has inspired many composers. My favourite is Chopin’s nostalgic longing for the green fields, gentle hills and the meandering brook of Zelazowa Wola, the place of his childhood in his Fantaisie-Impromptu, op 66. Exiled, he was never to return to Poland but his vivid portrayal of the landscape he loved will live forever when played by those virtuoso pianists who have understanding of his genius.
All seasons have their own colours, and Spring’s colour is vivid green. It has to be said that the beginning of spring is marked by most unpredictable weather. One moment it is bright and sunny, the next a cold rain mixes with sleet, and a few minutes later a sharp, easterly wind blows the clouds and rain away to allow the sun to shine again. At this time of the year winds are the driving force of the weather. When there is no wind but clouds hang at ground level, they create fog. The water condensation that had accumulated in the air during the day turns after the cold night into morning dew.
By the end of April gardens and orchards respond to the warmer sun and are full of fruit trees looking resplendent in white, cream or pink blossoms. Other trees are waking up dressed in new green jackets. Their leaves are not just for decoration but as a means of respiration, transpiration and obtaining their nourishment. This is a busy time for bees and other insects as they must also pollinate all the flowers in fields and woods. The distinctive fresh smell of the rich earth is a sign that winter is over. Scores of birds fly in a jet-black pattern, sharp against the iridescent-blue sky. Swallows are back. A nightingale hangs above the fields and woodlands singing his joyous song of spring. The first butterflies dance upon the golden air reflecting in their delicate wings the radiant light of the sun. Ponds are shimmering with life, and first posies of buttercups are emerging from the tangle of dark-green leaves. Fields, now silvery, sway in rippling circles, rocked gently by the breeze spreading across the young wheat, as if it were the disturbed surface of a waterpool. The dawn chorus announces the start of each day. Gardens, bright with tulips in every colour and shape, strive, and fail, to be more interesting than the masses of daffodils that edge the woodlands in vivid yellow.
Spring equinox, when the earth’s axis is in line with the sun, marks the changes in the season and is on the 21st of March. The days become warmer and this brings greater activity among ants, bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and a variety of beetles. Dormice, hedgehogs and other hibernating animals are already fully awake and busy looking for a mate. Gardeners’ best friends, frogs, lay jellylike spawn that contains thousands of eggs in garden ponds. More birds return and nest-building and egg-laying are now well in progress. Gardens and allotments are full of sowing and planting fervour. The air is light and fresh and that makes everyone feel young and strong, no matter what their age. This is a golden time of the year that awakes, invigorates and brims with hope of good things happening soon. This is the magic of Spring.