I don't know if it's my imagination but this year I feel much more aware of the gradually lengthening days. I've even looked up on an online sun calendar when I can expect to still have daylight after I get home from work (not until late March and the clocks go back) and I'm really feeling the benefit of a few more minutes each morning. The sun also feels slightly warmer, slightly brigher, and I am beginning to feel that spring really is on its way.
I've been making an effort recently to try to look up. Walking to and from work, I realise I'm powering along, head down, gaze blindly following patterns on the pavement and mind racing on some work issue, when I could be looking up and around me. The first time I did this, I caught a crystal clear night sky, with stars and a crescent moon glowing brightly. It was so clear and so bright that I could see the shadow of a full moon behind the crescent. (I tried to take a photo but it's just a grey blur.)
Now I am beginning to notice the first buds emerging and unfurling on various trees. (I wish I were better at identifying trees - I can manage oak and chestnut and birch, that's about it).
I wish I were better at getting out and using this sunlight - going for walks or runs, there's three parks within a fifteen minute walk and the forest at the edge of the city is only twenty minutes or so by bus, and yet it always seems so far, when I could be tucked up with my knitting and a cup of tea.
Yet I think there are numerous ways that some of the simplest simple living activities make you more aware of the changing seasons and their impact. The speed at which bread rises, for example, or how long you need to leave laundry hanging outside. We brought our clotheshorse in to the spare room when it got so cold and wet outside that the clothes would no longer dry, and I'm looking forward to being able to put it out again. And when your clothes are on a line outside, you are much more tuned in to whether it's raining or windy, and when you need to bring the clothes in.
So I'm looking forward to getting outside more as spring arrives - whether finally planting out some pots on my balcony, hanging my laundry outside again, or going for more walks. Do you have any other suggestions for things to do to get outside?