Swamp lanterns in a copse of alders.

Late in winter, the leaden skies, the relentless drizzle and mist and the constantly mud-spattered car wear me down, and my spirit yields to despondency. Then a miracle happens. Here and there in wet ditches and in swampy areas, bright yellow flowers emerge. They sprout from the ground, bringing a welcome dash of colour to the monochrome bleakness. Suddenly my spirits rise and joy fills my heart. Spring is finally coming!

Because we’re emerging from the darknessPink blossoms blanket the Japanese cherry trees. of a long, deadly pandemic, this season holds more hope for the future than ever. There is nothing lovelier than springtime on the islands. As the days get longer, the weather begins to warm up, and colorful flowers start rising from the damp soil, I’m ready to bask in the glory of the season. It’s my favourite time of year.

In addition to the skunk cabbage, more accurately known as a swamp lantern, a multitude of pink cherry blossoms have suddenly emerged, transforming formerly dull brown branches into a crescendo of brilliance. With the sun filtering through the colourful blossoms, highlighted against a cobalt sky, how can you not be optimistic and happy. Great things are coming!

The fresh growth holds a promise of coming warmth, richness and fertility. Even though I’ve have

A tulip ready to blossom.

witnessed a few springtimes before, this one is particularly moving, especially touching. I can’t help but feel that the coming year will be one of the best ever.

The signs of spring are everywhere. We are totally immersed in delicious scents and sights. Magnolias, I believe, have the most attractive blossoms in creation. Each white flower is a sculpture, beautifully curved and delicate in its colour. Elsewhere, bursts of daffodils with their bright yellow flowers shine forth from every garden and yard. The yellow blossoms are so eye-catching after a long winter.

Daffodils explode with white, green and yellow.

All life forms are captivated by springtime, and romance is in the air. Each morning our house reverberates to the loud rat-a-tat-a-tat on our metal roof of a male downy woodpecker trying to catch the attention of a prospective mate. The happy song of robins as they flitter about is another good sign of spring. Large birds circle on a thermal high above, having returned from distant migrations. Recently, I was shocked to hear a wolf howling, then a replying howl from a distance. But wolves don’t occur on the islands. I thought. On closer inspection, the howl was coming from high in a tree … the haunting mating calls of a pair of barred owls.

I find that walks in the forest are now a pleasure for many of the trees sport a new light green tinge of tiny buds, signaling that leaves will soon appear, perhaps to be speeded along by a rainfall and a few days of sunshine.

Fairies live below the daffodils.


Ah … springtime! My heart beats faster at the sights around us. Promise of rejuvenation lies in every blossom, flower and living creature. In the spring, life is full of hope.