It’s official. The meteorological office says it’s Spring.
Certainly, this morning March came in like a lion, with a gusty Westerly gale, that nevertheless has blown itself out quite quickly.
The first signs are here, though it takes a bit of effort to seek them out.
Primrose shoots are coming through the leaf litter, their leaves crumpled and fleshy, like primitive spinach. Until the pale and beautiful flowers come out, primroses look so battered and grump, which is hardly surprising, given the weather they are born into.
These fresh green colours are so vivid after a long winter of monochrome. The lichen on the trees is bright, especially on wet, black stumps of fallen trees. And here, on the woodland floor, blanketed by lichen from surrounding rotting wood, are the magical crimson bowls of the fungus known in England as scarlet elf cups.
Although we tend to associate mushrooms with the warm damp smell of the autumn, these red visitors from the fairy kingdom arrive at the beginning of spring. They have suddenly arrived from the winter underworld. They are the spirits that turn Death into a fibrous compost, alien beings that wait for our decomposition.
And today, all around this lace of pale fibres, are the repeated songs of the song thrush and the great tit, singing for territories and females. The archetypal symbols of decomposition and procreation are side by side in this March morning. They are the two faces of the same coin.