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Landscape (UK) - - Contents -

APRIL IS A month of firsts. The first blue­bells ap­pear on the wood­land floor; the first sum­mer vis­it­ing birds ar­rive; the first truly warm days of spring en­velop the coun­try­side. Na­ture is burst­ing forth with ver­dant green. Pre­vi­ously naked branches are clothed with un­blem­ished leaves; hills and val­leys are swathed in a fer­tile blan­ket. Ev­ery­thing feels fresh, new and full of promise. With my senses stim­u­lated, na­ture’s vigour in­spires me to em­brace the day with rekin­dled en­thu­si­asm. Dur­ing the win­ter, some tasks have been laid to rest, un­nec­es­sary as na­ture slum­bered through the shorter days. But now there is grass to mow, seeds to sow and prun­ing to be done. With the sun on my back and with­out need for a jacket, there is sim­ple plea­sure to be taken from th­ese hum­ble chores. Washing is next. Hang­ing sheets on the line, I fold them dou­ble, match­ing their edges and peg­ging each sheet in three places. I like wooden pegs. Old-fash­ioned and evoca­tive of days gone by, they are a fa­mil­iar link with the past. The smell of the laun­dry, a mix­ture of fresh air and soap, is up­lift­ing. Of course, it might rain; it is April af­ter all, and I will have to make a dash to bring it all in­doors, but for now I watch the sheets waft­ing back and forth in the breeze. The scene is mod­est; do­mes­tic; a wel­come re­turn to the rit­u­als of spring and sum­mer to fol­low.

Rachel Hawkins Ed­i­tor

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