Spring – for me the second best season of the year. It heralds change, a shift in the turning of the Earth and brings a promise of new hope. The heart is lifted as the sun lifts a little higher in the sky each morning, and every new green shoot, every pink and white blossom and shiny sticky bud and catkin shouts to the world that the dark, cold, dreary days of winter are ending.
A time of regrowth. A time of rebirth, especially for people like me who suffer with SAD. Now I can come out of induced hibernation, tentatively poke my nose outside the door and smile with joy. This year, in my part of the UK, Spring definitely came early with crocus in flower on my front lawn on New Year’s Day, followed by a plethora of snowdrops, to be swiftly chased by a flush of early daffodils and sweet scented hyacinths.
After the bonus of an extremely warm March, the perfume of dark-red wallflowers drifts across the driveway. Yellow tulips have fought their way through and shine out like glowing cups of sunlight. Everywhere, brightly coloured primulas flourish, and purple and white hellebores nod in the breeze. The borders are awash with the sky-blue of forget-me-nots, sweet violets and bluebells, whilst in the flowerbed under the kitchen window, vibrant rhododendrons are in flower. Soon all this will be gone, to be replaced by masses of columbines before the summer bedding of wildflowers and clematis, pink mallow and phlox takeover.
Spring has brought extra meaning for me this year, for today sees the official launch of my novel Every Step of the Way. Why Spring? And why are bluebells featured on its cover? In England, bluebells are a sign of Spring, and although they normally flower in May, they have bloomed early. They must have known Spring is the turning point for my leading character within the book.
Set in West London, Every Step of the Way tells the story of teenager Beth Brixham’s life during the 1950s, when she is forced to care for her baby sister following the tragic death of her mother, a result of the Killer Smog of December 1952. The book is full of the social history of that era, including the coronation of Elizabeth II, the music, the coffee bar and Teddy Boy culture of that time. A journey through the bigotry, prejudices and suppression of women which gave rise to the equal rights for women and the burning of the bra movements of the later decades.
April is also my birth month, this year falling over the Easter celebrations, and Spring is a turning point for me with the publication of the book for it is only now I can move forward with my life and allow myself to free fall into Summer – my favourite season.
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