Sometimes a handful of pencils are held together with a couple of rubber bands, making a neat and tidy bundle. I thought someone had left me a gift of nice shiny green pencils, sitting on the letter box, when I arrived home the other day. But no, they just looked like pencils, green and straight and bundled together. The Keeling’s label suggested something living, and maybe edible, closer examination revealed that these green sticks were in fact labelled, daffodils. It seemed ridiculous as there wasn’t even a hint of yellow, of flower, or anything pretty.

To honour the gift I found a vase, stood the sticks upright, set them in a warm place near the window and waited. It didn’t take long, certainly within 24 hours the flowers began to emerge, stem, neck and blooms formed and then on the second day an explosion of yellow, pale, delicate flowers, much bigger than I could have expected. By day three a delicate aroma, faint but distinctly flowery, filled my nostrils each time I walked into the kitchen. And there they sit, a spring offering, honouring St Brigid, the first heralds of spring. So, so simple and yet so suggestive of all the new life that is coming our way. The cold earth of winter is still muddy and bare, but buds are appearing on the trees, shoots are appearing out of the soil all around us, and the first extra hour of light extends our days and encourages us to hope.

The long slumber of a Covid weary winter will loosen its grip on our lives, we can expect more from our days. With quantifiable progress seen in numbers falling, behaviours changing, vaccines jabbing, deaths diminishing, hope is rising. We might try and see this moment through the window of faith, it will help us search for God’s presence in our struggle, and perhaps to grow through this adversity. Perhaps our values will have matured as we reflect on what really matters in life, the people we love, the care of the vulnerable, honouring the divine presence in others. Maybe it won’t be too long until we can gather again in churches and celebrate, remember and share prayer. Until then stay strong, let Spring lift your spirits. Bless the God of creation for all the beauty which he gives so freely.