Shafts of sunlight through ragged clouds move across the face of London this morning. From this window, high up on the highest ridge of the capital, you can see right across to the new Wembley Stadium fifteen kilometres away, and on a clear day such as this, far beyond that to the first shadowy humpbacks of the Chiltern Hills.
The daffodils in the park down below are out in a blaze of gently-nodding yellow, the soft pink blossom of the cherry trees, miles of which line roads in the capital and which by some quirk of nature, thrive so well here, are now starting to decorate and enliven the streets. And the magnolias, whose exotic blooms look more like refugees from the sub-tropics than natives of this part of the world, are popping up in front gardens everywhere.
Yes – Spring is here. Yet again. Never reliable as far as timing is concerned, but always, without fail, it turns up. And wouldn’t it bring us up with a stop if one year, it didn’t? No daffodils, no crocuses, no green shoots, no leaves on the trees, no magnolias, the sun always low in the sky, the lights on by five o’clock and frost at night. I guess we’d all stop fighting then. We’d all drop our guns, cease our posturing and our grand-standing in the fear that some monumental calamity from without was about to engulf the lot of us – the approach of the Death Star, asteroid blitz or the implosion of the sun.
That won’t happen though, will it? We’ll carry on in our confused and stumbling way till either we blow ourselves and the globe apart or we learn some sense. But even if we do the latter it’s likely it will be only after some dire self-induced catastrophe has decimated half a nation or reversed the world’s poles. We’re not good at thinking ahead and acting for the future; we specialize in re-acting – in shutting the stable door in a panic even as the horse is bolting.
And down there in the park, as the sunlight sweeps across it, the children – those who will take what we pass on to them and who will mould the future – run and play and shout and clamber all over the swings and the roundabout and the see-saw. So many of them. All in brightly-coloured outfits with parents looking on or joining in their games or just looking lost, as some do, and thinking ‘How do you deal with this little alien creature?’
So many children – like an ever-flowing, never-ending tide rolling in. Bright-eyed, fresh-faced, looking to enjoy the world. What are we bequeathing to them in their innocence?