As a small stream gathers force and runs to the sea, so life will out.
And there is a moment when the current becomes so strong that, bar atrocity, that life has gathered enough force to propel itself to the ocean of being.
Women tell us of the Quickening. It is that moment when the first flutter of new life makes itself felt: a kick, or a gesture from something which has until now been too small to be of note, a tiny tiddler in the shallows.
James Russell Lowell recognised it in the work of the bees as they pollinate: “Books are the bees,” he wrote, “which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.”
The quickening happens in each of our lives: a rush of blood in the veins. And as I look out of the windows I see one of the fastest quickenings we have seen in England, for many a year. The warmth came, for a few days, and the leaves received their orders. And suddenly where all was uncharacteristically barren, the green leaves are sprouting. The sap has never been stronger. Maybe it knows it is late.
We are all dazzled by the sunlight, and by the warmth. For the first time this year we have taken off our coats and sat out on lawns.
Make no mistake. England, for all its castles and cathedrals and cobbled streets, is dour and dark and damp for very much of the time.
But when the sun shines – I mean, really shines – there are few more beautiful places on this earth, than England in its Quickening.
Written in response to Side View’s weekend theme, Sunshine, which you can find here.