The blue tits are back, darting from the ground to the apple tree in short, fluttering hops. I presume they are building a nest in its hollow crown, although I have left them in peace. They have done so before, as evidenced by the numbers of them swooping low over the insect-rich lawn on buzzing late summer evenings. There are plenty of dried leaves for them, plenty of moss and bits of grass. I hope they make a home here once again.
My dear friend Mrs Eve has been doing the very same, making a new home just right for she and her Mister. She is buying new furniture, and happily unpacking trunks into new wardrobes. Creating a place to set forth from and to come home to. Somewhere which reflects the pair of them, just as they are. Somewhere spick, span, and ever so cosy.
Now that spring is coming, the urge to nest has struck even those of us who have been settled for some years. Through Mrs Eve I have had all the fun of shopping vicariously, coming home with a full purse. And I still don’t intend to spend much. But there are changes to be made.
For me, it’s all about having a base from which to get out, at this time of year. A place to sit just outside the door, and be spurred on into the garden. Somewhere to cast on for little knits on sunny afternoons. A snug spot for a snooze, without the season passing us by. And then, when the sun goes in at the end of the evening, when the fresh air has tired us out and the breeze turns chilly, we’ll want somewhere cosy to retreat to: a nest of sorts, lined with soft wool instead of moss. A space which looks out onto the world beyond, waiting for the next flight, and the next.
Ben will be spreading his wings this summer as usual, heading off on adventures of his own. Fliss will go away for a week or so with the Guides. Seb will spend the long vacation roaming round the village, and even Ilse will be popping in and out of this home and that. Then there will be times when we all fly away, together, to explore other parts of this island. We are all so looking forward to being away.
Yet I know that the flip side of being away is the joy of coming home again. Knowing the rhythm of our days. Seeing how the plants have grown, in our absence. Hearing, from Mother and Father, of how the hens have sulked and fussed and refused to lay any eggs. Opening the door to our own hall, hanging our coats on our own pegs, settling into our own beds.
They say that a change is as good as a rest, and after this busy half term with all its decorating and digging I am ready for a change. I’ve the kitchen in mind, with its french doors which open onto the patio beyond. Nothing drastic, nothing more than the work of an afternoon. I’d like to try the sofa in a different spot, for a better view. I’d like the rocking chair pulled closer to the door so that it’s the work of a moment to lift it onto the patio. I’d like to wake the picnic bench from its long slumber in the shed, ready for springtime dining. And I’d like to press some blooms, and place them in the frames which line one kitchen wall. To make this spot as cosy and appealing as I can. Because this is where you’ll find us, in this room which spills so delightfully outside. There, and in the garden beyond. Darting in and out of our nest, with brief fluttering hops at first. And later? Why, later we’ll have spread our wings. Later we’ll be swooping over the loud lawn in the heady evenings of summer, drunk on the joys of the season.