Alexander Pope’s hope springs eternal, is so often misquoted as hope reigns eternal that I thought I would take the misquoting one step further with the title of this blog post. Over the years, having witnessed more change of seasons than I care to admit to, the transition from winter to spring has to be the one that I long for the most. As the frosts and snows melt and the sun’s rays warm both the soil and the soul nature and humans alike are energised.
There are so many aspects of spring that bring joy: the intensity of colour in the chartreuse green of new shoots; the translucency of the young leaves as they filter the strengthening sunlight before it reaches the forest floor. The first bluebells; the starry golden celandines; the skylarks tumbling song all vie with the myriad of new life crying out the same positive message.
Autumn, of course, also gives moments of pleasure with the splendour of its glowing oranges, tawny browns and fiery reds but, compared with spring, these are but fleeting and only serve as a reminder of the dark, cold days of winter to come. Spring offers not just new life and beauty but also the hope of better days – perhaps this is why Pope is misquoted. Hope springs eternal is such a positive message.
Richard Jefferies, the Victorian naturalist, wrote eloquently of the joy of watching spring move towards summer in his book The Life of the Fields. “…every blade of grass, each leaf, each separate floret and petal, is an inscription speaking of hope…there is so much for us yet to come, so much to be gathered, and enjoyed.”
The cup of spring is never half-empty, neither is it half-full. It is always overflowing. Let us drink from it whilst we can.