I definitely know Spring is on the way! Okay, I admit it’s still a bit gruesome grey outside. And there’s a gale blowing strong enough whip our metal garden chairs across the grass and blast me down from the ladder where I was trying to do some pruning at the weekend desperate to get out the house. But despite that there are signs.
I don’t mean the snowdrops popping up everywhere bringing Spring tidings. Nor the spikes of green that prove one day there really will be daffodils. Nor the brave buds that swell despite the bushes being rocked worse than a boat on a rough sea, nor the randy birds beginning to sing for a mate.
There is something else that happens round here that heralds Spring much more than all that. It’s the wild geese getting excited.
They have been around all winter. We see huge flocks of them from the house, so low down as they drift in you could almost touch the fat black crosses they make overhead. We hear them all winter as they circle and settle on the green areas to graze.
But now they’re not settled, they’re restless.
They mass in huge numbers eating frantically and gabble a lot to each other. They do lots of wing stretching and flapping and holding up of proud heads. And you can tell they are itching to migrate back up North as our weather warms up, just as we itch to go on holiday when the sun shines.
Then, yesterday as I slipped out to walk the dog I sensed a change. They weren’t loud and near and gently conversational as they normally are all winter, but far away and with a different tone to their calling. I looked up and way up high there they were, a long wavering skein, all stretched out in perfect equidistance between each other to get the best aerodynamic effect and making their distinctive V formation.
They were so high they were little more than tiny kisses painted on the grey. They would not be landing again. These geese were on their way to colder places leaving us to the coming of our Spring. I watched them till they were out of sight and their calling just a memory of winter moving over.
How magic is that! Gets me every time.