Landscape (UK)

Dear reader...

- Rachel Hawkins Editor

AS WINTER ROLLS on, it can feel as if spring remains resolutely out of reach. Daylight is still early to bed, and sharp northerly winds feel as if they could chill to the bone.

Despite the inauspicio­us weather, there is so much beauty to be seen: the tracery of a leafless tree as the sun sits low in the sky is an exquisite sight; tones of peach and steely blue merge and flow into infinity.

Yet while the hedges, trees and fields may seem lifeless, this delicate watery colour will soon yield, and, gradually, vibrancy will return. As the days pass, patches of yellow will coat the ground: open cups of aconite and crocus, like a tiny chorus tentativel­y singing the first few bars of a song.

Slowly, day by day, the night-time hours will shorten, and light will awaken more of the slumbering landscape. Even the occasional bee and early butterfly will make their maiden flight as the sun’s rays gain strength and provide a few hours of warming respite.

These first gentle whispers are easily overlooked as nature treads its familiar path towards spring. But to witness the opening of a bud or hear the first buzz of a bee is as great a moment as any of the more dramatic seasons that will follow.

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