Catherine Mangham. DTMH, February 2018
Spring is here at last! The light has come, although the Blackbird has been heralding its arrival in the pre-dawn, neon glow for several weeks already. The Great Tit's insistent call urges me out of the house and into the day and the crocuses and daffodils in Everton Park smile as I race by on my bike, full of energy again. The sloth of hibernation is over. Let the sap rise again.
I remember the first time I noticed a Blackbird's song. It must have been my first spring at Aberdeen University Medical School, and I had just returned from Canada after nearly five years working as a hiking guide. I had learned about the flora and fauna of the Canadian Rockies through my work with Canadian Mountain Holidays and had become more observant, passing the same places from Spring to Autumn and finding things for my clients to photograph and marvel over. But I knew nothing about British wildlife. The full-throated, burst of liquid trills and chirps had stopped me in my tracks. I had never heard anything more beautiful or varied. I had heard about song thrushes and nightingales, but no one had mentioned the blackbird…. Except John Lennon, I suppose. Now I come to think of it, that is also an unexpected jewel of a song.
I have noticed as I get older and my own preoccupations have become less all-consuming, that I am more aware of the rhythm of life around me and it replaces those great earlier passions. The difference is that each moment, each sight or sound is a gift. I have not striven or battled for the warmth of the sun and I certainly haven't deserved it. The celandine, peeping from under the crushed beer can exists for itself, but my observation and delight in it fills my heart and perhaps ennobles what might otherwise go unnoticed and unloved.