The distractions of spring 135



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When I sit to write or revise my work I am, I must confess, often distracted by the beauty of my surroundings …it’s supposed to be spring but the last few days have been cold and crisp with many little visitors. Robins are always known as the harbingers of spring – not here: they turn up when we are going to receive a wee dump of snow. This year however, they arrived and have stayed, flashing puffed up red breasts to threaten each other and attract a mate. For the first time they are nesting in the hedgerows.

It’s often later here in the hills that spring arrives but as I sit today to write it’s actually a pleasant 12 degrees outside, the warmest day in some time…daffodils have opened their golden heads and the cockatoo make a bee-line for them; not to eat, just to tear the heads off for the fun of it…perhaps they look like a sulphur crest!

Grape hyacinth are flowering as too are snowdrops and soon bluebells, harebells, jonquils and freesia will be sharing space among the sycamore seedlings in the grove on the hill. The first stately Iris is ‘bursting her buds’ for attention under the rowan. Diversity and biodiversity certainly make for an interesting view from the window…see there you are, that’s how easily I can be distracted.

Slowly unfolding, burgeoning life pushes up from the dark, wet soil, breaking through the loamy crust to uncoil silvery-green fronds…

…stretching toward the still lowering clouds, seeking, a glimpse; a sense of sunlight beneath the blanket of still wintry sky …pulling in each watery strand of light to weave within itself a new shoot, bud, leaf …flower.Ppushing up, bursting open …hungry leaf or thirsty petal to receive the blessing of warmth …life returns.

Sitting quietly, watching and listening, I can almost hear the rustles and creaks of unfolding nature …the odours on the south-westerly have changed; sweeter now, they speak of life not decay …the soil is still too cold to sow seeds but the new fruit trees, hawthorn and silver birch are waiting to thrust their root-fingers into the ground.

After all the rain and cold the birds are beginning their spring rituals and a flock of silent, tiny fire tails swoop as one to a puddle of rain water as it steams lightly in the weak sunshine …rare visitors to the farm they seek out the hedgerows, grown specifically for the abounding bird life that find its way to the farm.

Tap, tap, tap, on the roof, signals the return of the raven pair …the female with her silvery flash on one wing, ducks away from her mate’s enticing display of a still wriggling, bug: she’s already laid her eggs and won’t stay too long away from them.

Currawong, cuckoo shrike and kookaburra are ever ready to raid the nest for a tasty snack of egg …just as raven raids our hen’s nests at the first triumphant squawk from a layer! Nature is an opportunist and with 7 healthy ‘lay girls’ we have enough to share …in return nature gifts us rapturous mating displays; tender rearing of young, who sit in all shapes and sizes along the fence-line waiting for their food.

Somehow, at this time of year, all the harshness of the winter months simply begins to fall away …elder leaves open, cherry, hazelnut and plum begin to open their buds and sleepy bees will begin to return, humming their bee-songs to coax the nectar and pollen from the spreading blossoms …spring …slowly gently the light returns …Ostara, Spring Equinox is come and gone and life renews in a rush of …messy, noisy, boisterous …teeming life…

Deep in the spring …where the waters sing

…the source of all life can be heard on the wing

You will hear Her song …once weak now strong

…from the depths of the well …feel Her Magicks …Her spell

…in liquid drops of first dew …as all life She renews


I feel with all my senses at this time of year as the air softens with spring rain and the sap rises in all growing things …I love to listen to the sound of new leaves rustling or to the subtle ‘pop’ as a bud bursts open in coloured, fragrant wonder. At dawn there is a moment of utter stillness when clarity of sight, smell, taste and hearing, merge into one faculty; you can taste the air, see it tremble a drop of water on a curled frond of bracken and hear the thirsty suck, as the earth welcomes every living drop …be still, listen …listen for the sound of a horn, distant and haunting, calling you to drop all pretense of adulthood, to come to the dance …this is the time of year for the young and for the young at heart …dare to dream …drink it in …listen

Hear the winds calling a sultry refrain

…He’s out and about …the prelude to Beltane

He can be heard the rustling of leaves

…sending playful reminders that tug at your sleeves

…He says

I am the essence that lives …all unseen

I am the memory of all that is green

Take up the mantle of earth’s greening time

…smell the wild’s fragrance like fresh summer wine

Come to your circle in Hawthorn arrayed

…I’ll meet you in the Greenwood where my music is made…

…blessed spring days from Beyond the Gate …


Do you get distracted by the blooms of spring? Do they inspire you? Tell us what you love about the blooming season below.

Penny Reilly

Renowned as a clairvoyant and a teacher of the Western Mysteries at Daylesford School of Arcane Knowledge, Penny Reilly is an initiated Bard, author and poet in the Mystery Tradition of the Druid. Penny has a passion for the Old Ways of the British Isles; she will be returning there in 2015 to carry out research for her nonfiction books and her second ‘Cloak of Magick’ Mythology series to come. She feels that the gentle path of the Druid, is the path to take for a sustainable future, connecting us to the land, no matter where we live on the planet. She describes herself as a ‘nature writer’. Her own visionary experiences are very much a part of her story-line, poetry and lyrics, throughout her four published books. She has previously written articles for alternative magazines, blogs regularly about her ideas and way of life, writes on occasion for ‘starts at sixty’ lifestyle blog. Penny moved to Sydney, Australia in 1980 and to the central highlands of Victoria with her husband David, 18 years ago. They share space with an ‘all sorts’ terrier, an old tabby cat, a small flock of hens and a fat wombat fondly known as ‘Chocolat’, who has adopted them. Keen gardeners, they are becoming self-sufficient on their beautiful rolling acres on the Great Divide; their blended mob of children are long ‘grown and flown’ the coop. Penny has written four books, with a fifth on the way. You can find out more on her website,

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