• Jessica Bartlett

Invitation to Observe: The arrival of Spring


My invitation to observe series of blogs are intended to spark thought thorough pointing something out that can be quietly and personally observed.

I’ve written and rewritten this in my head a few times as with Spring comes the abundance of noteworthy things. The Daffodils, the blossom, the way the sun feels warmer on our backs and now the lighter evenings. No doubt you’ve noticed these too and they are wonderful. However, I have a need for this written observance to be something quietly waiting in plain sight.



With that in mind, I would like to invite you to observe the buds on the trees, the little green shoots that start to fill in and flesh out our landscape. I realised that this is what I was looking at when my friend and fellow artist Ruth Ander sent me this Philip Larkin quote from his poem The Trees:


‘The Trees are coming into leaf like something almost being said’*


‘Almost being said’ that’s what this observation is, Larkin has put it poetically and beautifully. It’s the inhale of breath before a voice breaks into song. We trust in the song of Spring so much that we can miss the potent energy that comes just before it. No longer waiting and dormant but not yet started. Up close, looking at a bud on a tree the growth is there to see. Standing back the overall effect is subtle. The fleshing out and filing in the gaps is visible but less defined like a bleed on a watercolour. The bare branches of the tree are being coloured outside of their lines. Space is steadily being filled in with richness of greens and life. I live in the centre of Bristol and yet I get the pleasure of walking through a small wooded area almost daily. These are familiar trees to me and yet in the time of winter’s coolness I have all but forgotten what it feels like to stand under their canopy. Looking at the leaf buds my senses are reminded of the tune I used to sing and I start to hum along. It will come and I can rest easy on the circular wonder of nature. One day I will look up and the sky will be filled in with layers of green leaves, if I don’t pay attention to the changes it will appear to happen overnight. That’s the joy of this observation, it’s being in on the surprise.



When I look closely at a seemingly bare branch and notice the tightly curled beginning of a bud or leaf it has all the energy and power of a fist. Clenched, pressed and ready. The tree takes that energy and opens it out, that power being placed in openness, renewal and optimism. We can learn from this in the way we move our own potential energy; releasing it as openness and inviting light in. The gaps being filled with abundance now to see us through the next winter pause.




*This quote was sent to me by my good friend and fellow artist Ruth Ander in her newsletter. Her emails are often full of these little gems of inspiration and are always a welcome read in my inbox. Sign up here, highly recommended.

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