Signs of Spring 

Disclosure: I wrote this 3 weeks ago, got side-swiped by life and forgot I hadn’t posted it. Hey, it was the Spring Equinox just two days ago so we’re going to go with it being still relevant!

Everyday adventures are the stuff of life in our family. Though we live in a town at the moment, on any given day if we can swing it around school and work you’ll find us in the wild somewhere. Deepest countryside, wild beaches or enveloping woodland. Those are our playgrounds. Our boys need it like they need food and water.

Some days though, through tiredness or nursing lurgies, we find ourselves stuck in the rut of cosy indoorsiness, pjs still on, slowly driving each other a little mad while not finding quite the oomph to get ourselves out the door. We had a Sunday like this last week. It’s usually me who breaks the spell holding us unhappily inside when my cabin fever reaches critical point.

And so it was that weekend, that I suddenly freaked out, piled us all into a mismatch of warm stuff and clawed my way outside so I could start breathing again.

Having been cosied up all day, the boys were in a rare state of mind where they weren’t all that keen on the planned walk. Almost unheard of, but so it was that day. In fact, we could hardly persuade our youngest out of the car once we got to our starting point. Knowing that coaxing would only make him dig his heels in further, such is his way, I stood back and said ‘OK, I’ll just look around for some signs of Spring while you get ready to come out’. I had counted two – daffodils and crocuses – by the time he’d climbed out. Don’t you just love those moments when it works?

So off we went for our walk, spotting as we went. It was a sunny but cold day and the signs of early Spring were everywhere. My eldest was great at keeping count and spotted every teeny tiny sign, teaching his brother by pointing out the littlest details.

After they’d climbed amongst their favourite fallen tree roots, swung on the big rope swing and discovered a new one, we made our way out of the woods having found over 30 signs of Spring. Amazing! I’d underestimated that one. Some were shoots so tiny we couldn’t identify them and therefore could’ve been counting twice on occasion. No matter. It was the act of noticing more than the number. There was no notebook to hand and honestly I think it was all the better for it. Just slowing down to look closely, fostering an awareness of all that is awakening, soaking up the newness and the promise. Simple on the one hand, but yet another way that grounding ourselves deep in the season’s can give our children a strong sense of belonging in the world.


  
  

Off the top of my head, some of our spottings… daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, primroses, cyclamens, hellebores, periwinkles, apple tree buds, leaf buds of all kinds, catkins, bluebell shoots and many other new shoots, lambs, birdsong, camellia, early azaleas and a distinctly new smell in the air.

I loved that they embraced it as the day’s mission, noticing things that even I hadn’t, involving such focus at times that nobody mentioned tired legs or hungry tummies; in fact, we were all surprised to find ourselves back at the car.

In the past week since then the boys have continued spotting things and they greeted the Spring stories that came out this weekend with glee.

Such a big change from Winter stories to Spring ones. The contrast of white snowy scenes and fresh rolling greenness. A lovely shift. They’ve been dipping into this season’s story basket a lot.

I usually find more lurking around the house on our many bookshelves as the weeks go by, but here’s a round-up of whats in our basket so far.

In the Spring Story Basket:

Ferdie’s Springtime Blossom – by Julia Rawlinson & Tiphanie Beeke – the seasonal stories about this little fox are firm favourites and this one is especially sweet because he confuses blossom with snow. Perfect for the turn of the season.

Brambly Hedge Spring Story – by Jill Barkelm – hours and hours I could gaze at the intricate drawings in these books. This one features a Springtime birthday which fits in nicely with N’s March birthday.

Pelle’s New Suit – by Elsa Beskow – a forever favourite around here. The beauty of the illustrations matched perfectly with a heartwarming story of a boy, his lamb and how the gift of wool passes through many hands and becomes a new suit. So much for little ones to learn from this one.

The Rabbit Who Found Easterby Charlotte Zolotow – I’m not going to lie, this one has the power to make me quite emotional! Gorgeous illustrations and such rich language and far-reaching message. I could read this endlessly. And I do, if asked!

The Golden Egg – by A J Wood – sweet book for little ones with rhyming verses, shiny Easter eggs behind flaps, colour exploration and cute wildlife. Our boys still like a flick through of this even now and it helps that the last line claims ‘Easter eggs of chocolate are the best’.

The Spring Rabbit – by Joyce Dunbar -a lovely seasonal story but also great for children awaiting a sibling. We love a good bunny story around here.

Little Baa – by Kim Lewis – another sweet one just right for this time of year, with the added bonus that it explores the losing and finding of the mummy sheep. We took it out of the library last year and after the fourth renewal it became clear that we might need our own copy!

The Tiny Seed – by Eric Carle – a story for any season perhaps but it finds its way into our seasonal basket in the Spring being the time of planting seeds and watching seedlings grow. We love the journey it’s goes on and it always sparks great conversations with R, our eldest.

When Will It Be Spring? – by Catherine Walters – this one tends to stay in there for the first part of Spring, while Winter is still fresh in our minds. We completely love the last page where the Bears have emerged from hibernation into a beautiful world if Spring.

Milly Molly Mandy Spring – by Joyce Lankester Brisley – chapter books are very much the thing for R lately; he loves the rhythm of the nightly instalment. I love that they’ve gathered these sweet nostalgic stories of the simple joys of childhood into seasonal anthologies. The boys just love them.

 
That’s all for now. If I find more I’ll attempt to update the list.  Meanwhile, though I truly don’t need the book-shopping compulsion that will follow your responses, I’m going to ask the all-important question anyway – What’s in your Spring story collection? Which are your children’s favourites?   *covers eyes and tries to forget PayPal login*

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