Is it grey and rainy in Dorset right now? Because that’s not what I see in my mind’s eye. It’s April, and I know the cowslip in the lanes is bursting into its full glory, so full and wild that it brushes the car on either side as you drive. And the hedges are alive with songbirds, joyful that the days are turning lighter and brighter after the long, wet winter. And the grass is soaking up all that sun and rain, and turning it into a green so beautiful and intense that when you realise, it nearly takes your breath away.
Is it overcast and windy in England right now? Because that’s not what I am remembering. I see clear blue skies punctuated by wispy white clouds. I can see our garden, unkempt and untidy, bursting with overgrown beauty. The forsythia is in full bloom, a yellow so bright that it looks slightly unreal. And the tree above is coming back to life, with those delicate fronds of pale, pale green that will suddenly explode — overnight — into the breathtaking profusion of pink blooms that appeared with perfect timing to welcome my first baby girl home.
Is it muddy and messy in Britain right now? Because I remember the clean smell of the spring air as the weather turns, the way those first breezes blow fresh through newly opened windows, and banish the stale of winter from a cooped-up house. I remember the joy of sleeping on sheets that have dried on the line at last and smell of Spring’s bright sunshine, instead hanging over the banister and smelling of the gas fire and last night’s dinner. I remember a thousand blooms springing forth, in places expected, unexpected, and impossible, that colour every view and change the world from dull to extraordinary in a matter of days.
There is no time of year that is more beautiful in England than the spring. And possibly no place on earth that can compare to its splendor right now. And though I know I am conveniently forgetting the negatives — the rain, the mud, the cold — I also know that I am remembering it completely accurately. For despite the best efforts of reality, England in the spring really is that spectacular.