“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
Thus Kenneth Grahame, in “The Wind in the Willows”, marks the arrival of another season in the life of Mole. And if it penetrated the subterrain dwelling of Mole, it has also made its way into the equally closed recesses of my inner being; I have commenced operations in the garden. And somewhere in Ukraine, alongside the missiles, flowers will be blooming, birds will be nesting, just as they did two years as Covid first gripped us in this country. We live our lives on a bigger canvas, where nature follows its own rhythms, in spite of our impact on the planet. Kenneth Graham talks of spring having a “divine” spirit, the discontent and longing perhaps reflecting the way we can draw from its example to make a fresh start. Perhaps we also draw strength from its constancy; you do need to believe in the literal truth of the story of Noah’s flood to stand alongside the ancient Hebrews in their awe that seed time and harvest do not fail, that the seasons still follow each other. Many who do not call themselves religious none-the-less find something spiritual in this pattern, that stands above the traumas and happenings of everyday life.
On Tuesday evening at 6pm a small group of us will meet in Glazeley churchyard to seek meaning in the renewal of spring. I will bless the soil in the churchyard and fields; as a Christian priest I will do this with words that draw on Jesus’s parable of the sower. But all are welcome, to draw sustenance from the miracle of rebirth that happens every year.