My morning run has started to change.
For what seems like an eternity, I’ve gotten used to lonely runs on cold, dark, stupid o’clock mornings. Even the rare but awe-inspiring sighting of the odd barn owl has dwindled to nothing in the last month. The winter too cold for even the hardiest of wildlife to stir.
But this week, it changed. The run out was the same; pitch black, not another soul daft enough to stir or waste their energy, but, on the way back, I noticed that I could see a faint outline of the skyline. Not only that, but as I neared home, there it was, a solitary blackbird’s song—the sweetest sound signifying the early bird. One became two, and then all at once, a cacophony of birdsong. Daftly, it felt like being cheered on in the final straight of the longest of races. At last, the end of running alone.
Spring has gently sprung. Not quite a flourish yet, but a tentative awakening. New shoots, birds busying themselves, trees growing buds. Nature knows its part to play at this point, years of performances under its belt.
We, however, have not come out of hibernation before. We haven’t even learnt our lines for this next part of the play.
This weeks announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown has presented us with the first chance to experience our own Springtime. To awaken from a restless slumber of sorts.
True hibernation is known as a state of ‘torpor’. It is neither restful nor refreshing. Animals that hibernate have spent the time expending vast amounts of energy, ensuring their temperatures don’t drop too low, that their heart rates are steady, and, in some cases, tending to their young.
They emerge depleted. Some of us can certainly relate.
We all know lockdown has been both a blessing and a curse for us all at different times. And I’m sure our way out of the Covid-enforced hibernation is going to be a similar mixed experience.
Some of us will liken to black bears, who, exhausted from keeping their bodies in existence and their bear cubs alive, will stay lethargic for weeks, not travelling too far for food, eating easy snacks and needing time to adapt to the changes before they can face anything too strenuous.
Others will be more like the honey bee – out like a shot and needing to find their place in society again, fighting over the first flowers, eager to taste the initial joys of spring. Imagine the first race? Or Park Run?
A lot of us will struggle, at varying times and for different reasons as we try to adapt.
We might have a political roadmap of sorts, but actually guiding ourselves and our families back into the busy world is going to be a challenge.
Perhaps that’s because we’re trying to plan. Every mother bear, honey bee, groundhog or bat, at some point, all had a first time coming out of hibernation. The difference is they didn’t overthink it. They did what comes naturally to them. They trusted their intuition.
If this pandemic has taught us anything at all, it should be to trust ourselves. This time last year, none of us had ever experienced lockdown, homeschooling, social-distancing or even face-masks. Lockdown 1.0 hadn’t even been announced. And yet here we are a year on, and we’re lucky enough to have survived. Some of us depleted and exhausted, some ready to light the touch paper of everyday life. But without a plan, we made it through.
Whatever the next few months have in store, I’m going to follow nature’s lead. Trust in it. We’ve got this far, by taking one step at a time and with little planning. Whether you’re a bear or a bee, we’ll find the right way.
Until next week, I hope you can enjoy whatever wonders nature’s spring performance has to offer, and may the birds cheer you on.
All the best,
Founder / First-timer / More bear, less bee
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