The Spring Equinox. Day and night of equal length. Summer is coming! Today at the woods, in the glorious sunshine, the World was full of the vibrance and energy of Spring. Little birds fill the sky with the flutter of their wings, and the chitter of their song. There is frantic activity in the undergrowth, with nests being built, and food being collected. In the background, the great-spotted woodpeckers drum, and the green woodpeckers laugh. Bumblebees make their ponderous way around, sampling the pollen and nectar from early flowers. Daffodils nod their heads, their bright yellow colour bringing joy and happiness to all who see them.
In the meadow, speedwell, chickweed, early dandelion and wild pansy are in flower, the grass is rising. You can almost hear and see it growing! The clover, vetches, trefoils, mayweed, daisies and other wildflowers are starting to stand proud of the grass. In the ponds, little blades of sedge and iris stand up above last year’s wilted offerings. The bluebells are well advanced, and the wild garlic is coming through – the smell guides you to it.
Everything has the glorious backing music of the waterfall notes from the skylark, the chirruping of our linnet flock, and the rattling of the remaining fieldfares. Opportunists looks for a quick meal – the buzzard, sparrowhawk, goshawk, kestrel and magpies actively seek the unwary. Rabbits risk being seen in the daytime for a treat of fresh grass. Ladybirds and peacock butterflies are on the wing.
Along the canal, the laughter of childrens’ voices, the vibrant yellow of the willow catkins, dripping with profuse pollen. And everywhere, there is a whisper of green. Just a tiny touch, a perceptible change, a pulse of life after winter. The elder leaves are growing fast. Spindle is one of the first to emerge with profuse, effusive growth. Dog rose, guelder rose and the tiny, perfect, hairy, translucent leaves of hazel are coming out of their furry cases and grasping the rays of the quickening sun.
As you walk round, you catch the retreating forms of voles, mice, rabbits, squirrels and muntjac. Wrens come and shout at you for daring to approach their territory. The soil is warming. You sense nature taking a deep breath before sprinting upwards, ever more vigorous and green, towards the sky.
Wonderful, vibrant, exciting spring. We hope you will share it with us on our Open Day this coming Sunday – and come again throughout the year. It is the changing of the seasons that makes the wood so exciting, never the same, always evolving, growing, and living. It all starts at the Equinox, a special day, a special time, a special place.