The first stirrings of spring will scratch the echoing ruins of winter and the world will brighten as if recovering from a hangover; the Leam now flows through a blanket of snowdrops after its brief encounter with the snow and the woods appear to quiver with the promise of warmth and light, as if shaking off the stiffness of a winter sleep.
The silence has gone. Birds sing out and dart around energetically, like a teenagers party just after the parents have left, chiffchaffs providing a prominent rhythm to the sweet melodies of nuthatches, goldfinches, great tits, blue tits, chaffinches and marsh tits, all competing for a solo spot.
In all this celebration the smell of damp decay remains, reminding us that the death of last years vegetation is still preparing the ground for another grand hurrah! Roll on Spring.