|Spring sunshine in the Haute Savoie|
If I could choose the manner and place of my last day on earth, I think a high contender would be springtime in the Alps. It’s true that summer is the season of my fondest climbs (limited though they are) and winter can be breathtaking in its majesty. As for the autumn, the reddening of the beech trees by my house are an annual – and joyful - reminder of the turning of the years.
But spring is extra special.
Two weeks ago there was a late snowfall in the Haute Savoie, ironically providing the best skiing of the season, just as the lifts were closing. Yet I didn’t go high; instead, I walked in the foothills, accompanied by the chatter of birdsong, the white noise of the meltwater and the soundtrack in my head, putting the world to rights as usual…
Everywhere, buds were sprouting, the meadows turning from dun to lush; a rogue hyacinth momentarily convincing me an orchid had bloomed. And am I alone in thinking that spring air smells (and tastes) like nothing else – a fragrance that can’t be bottled, but is free for us all to delight in.
Back home in Wales, it’s the season of yellows and creams, of gorse and blackthorn, cowslips and dandelion. But yesterday, as I sat in my garden, an iridescent speck landed on my chair; an Adonis Blue butterfly, and a perfectly formed reminder that soon the flowers in Pembrokeshire's hedgerows will be that colour too. It’s been a tough winter in more ways than one, but there’s no greater tonic than nature’s renewal.
It’s time, I thought, to start looking ahead; to plan for the summer and brighter days. Later, I opened my diary and smiled as its pages filled with possibilities. For this is not my last day on earth, rather, it’s the first of what remains. And while I may no longer have the vigour of youth, I’ve the same lust for life that was awakened in the Alps, almost fifty years ago.
Every year since, it’s spring which reminds me how precious that is.