We bought a cherry blossom tree in the autumn, something we had been meaning to do since we moved in 6 years ago! It takes pride of place in our front garden, and all through March we watched eagerly as the buds formed and slowly began to grow. And of course, as with all nature, it blossomed at the right time. Just as the clocks changed and we gained an extra hour of daylight, our cherry tree heralded in the start of spring.
Spring is my favourite time of year - it is the dawn of new beginnings, fresh starts and newness. Spring sheds the grey and drabness of winter, throwing off its heavy overcoat and revelling in the shafts of sunlight as they start to beam more frequently and warm the earth. Well, that was the case - for a week in March - however, it's now April and I'm writing this sitting inside in my overcoat! Since that glorious week when we donned sandals, sunglasses, and shorts, it has hailed, snowed and dropped at least 10 degrees! But this unpredictable behaviour by our weather systems is also what I love about this time of year.
Spring is like a trickster; it plays with my dreams of warmer days and walking barefoot in the garden. It holds promises of ice cream and rosé, picnics, and day trips to the beach. And whilst it doesn't always deliver on these dreams and promises, to me, spring is the most hopeful time of the year. And hope is what gets me through the darkness, wetness and coldness of a Welsh winter.
Hope does not have to be fulfilled in order to lift us up. We can be people with high hopes, who also get let down, disappointed and disgruntled. The point of hope, as I see it, is to give us the courage to keep going, it is the resilience and grit we need in dark times - to know that there is a blue sky above the clouds and the sun will shine again. I am learning that life is not black and white, either or, us and them. No, life is shadow and shade and dappled light that shifts and morphs as we move through it. Life is about moments of time, moments that surprise us, catch us unawares and reveal to us that everything changes. There is no fixed colour scheme, but a myriad of hues that are valuable and to be embraced.
Spring will continually surprise us, and in true British fashion, we will always have something to say about the weather. As for our cherry blossom, it too will change. The flowers will drop, leaves will grow and then it will return to its bare branched restfulness to sleep during the winter months. But all the time, it is still a cherry tree. In all its phases of growth and change, it remains true and does not try to be a blossoming cherry tree all year round. Nature is a great teacher; and when we see how accepting, adaptive and accomplished it is, we can learn so much about ourselves as nature and as creation. We do not have to blossom all year round, we too can go through the seasons of change, but remain true to who we are. We are no less ourselves when we are bare and resting.
So, I will sit here (in my overcoat!) and hope for warmer days (even though it's forecast strong wind and rain tomorrow!) I will make the choice to embrace all the unsettled moments, the uncertain outcomes and the unknown conditions. I will keep looking up and know that the sun will shine again, and I'll have my sunglasses and rosé at the ready!
If you know someone who might need encouraging today - send them this post. We can help each other look up and be people of high hopes. If you would like to read more about nature, hope and changing your perspective, I've written a book called Upward: The Power of Looking Up. It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle - here is the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Upward-Looking-Sarah-Alex-Carter/dp/1739699807/ref=sr_1_1?crid=19TUSBW84P4AN&keywords=sarah+carter+upward&qid=1649155904&s=books&sprefix=%2Cstripbooks%2C122&sr=1-1
You can also follow me on Instagram and join the journey - let's look up together.