Soon, like every year around the middle of February, I will start feeling it: The Quickening. It's a growing sense of urgency, of expectancy and excitement. It's like something is about to happen, but if you asked me, I would not be able tell you what it was.
I would tell you to go outside, where there are some trees and a little wildlife, find somewhere to stand or sit quietly and use all your senses to to perceive what you can. You might smell the warming soil, the fungal, spicy scent of leaf litter and moss. You'll most likely hear the calls of the birds, chaffinch and pigeon, telling you “soon, soon”! As the sun breaks through the clouds you'll squint at the unexpected brightness and the breeze chilling your ears will seem to want to take you somewhere. You might notice that in response your spirit lifts and an eerie feeling of anticipation settles within and you know what's meant by "bright eyed and bushy tailed", 'cause that just how you feel, all ready for it!
That's the Quickening, every year, and all of nature responds to it. It happens quite a while afore spring, but is fed in part by memories of that most exciting season when all that has lain dormant through winter once more awakens. It holds the promise that this year, anything is possible.
These days, my husband and I joke that when we look at the BBC news or Guardian websites, we're getting our daily dose of bad news . This is black humour, of course, but as headlines speak of deepening economic troubles, increasing numbers of unemployed, cuts in benefits and stirrings towards yet another war, there seems little enough to feel cheerful about. Yet look behind those headlines and what you find are different kinds of stories. Ordinary people are waking up to the injustices and inequalities of their regimes. From the Arab Spring to Occupy and protest marches against austerity in Europe, something is happening. This isn't the usual kind of protest with simple demands and ready answers, but rather something that is raising questions on a far more fundamental level, expressing doubts about our moral and ethical values and the kind of society these have helped to create. The protests are asking if there really isn't a better way and why don't we just get on with it? And again, the aspirational spirit of these uprisings have a power that leaves even the most cynical amongst us with a feeling of imminence and inevitability. In Egypt the uprisings were accompanied by the songs of Sayyid Darwish, a singer songwriter remembered from a previous revolution, inspiring today's young people with memories of hope and love.
Back here in Wales, a sleepy dragon yawns and stretches, scratches itself behind one ear and rises. It is time. Transition Bro Ddyfi Trawsnewid will be meeting for the first time in many months. What is bringing us back together this time is not the dire state of the world, but rather the ripples from things we created in the past: the fruit trees that were planted in Machynlleth have grown well and are in need of a prune. Ffrwyth i Bawb or Fruit for All is our "visible manifestation", a show to the world that we were there and now a reminder to ourselves that there is still a lot of work to do. I look forward to us all sitting together again and feel that this year, anything is possible!