Spring is a time not only of nesting but of travelling, both physically and mentally. As the spring arrives, we feel ourselves waking from the dormant, chill months to the year ahead of us and the questions it might pose. Where might we travel, and what might we find along the way? The daylight lasts longer and time seems to slow, asking to be filled. The world outside becomes a more inviting place; our territory expands. Minds turn outwards, and feet soon follow.
While we take those first steps in the spirit of a journey, more dramatic migrations move around us. Black-headed gulls that feed in cities in the winter move in the spring to the moors and marshlands. Cuckoos which have flown down through central Europe to the south of Italy, before feeding up in advance of the crossing to Africa where they will stay for the winter, reverse the journey to return again to the British Isles in late March or April. All is in flux – roots spread to spring rain, sap rises in the trees, and we stir too. Exploring this new, old world, we make our own expeditions and peregrinations, returning home again to re-see the familiar in new light. Perhaps, this year, with a field guide in hand...
Words by Aimee Gasston
Illustrations by Mabel Emily Step, published in Wayside and Woodland Blossoms: A Pocket Guide to British Wild-Flowers for the Country Rambler. Published in 1895 by Frederick Warne & Co.