Are you seeing the signs of spring where you are? Here, daffodils and crocuses are blooming (even if the wild bunnies are eating the latter before they can bud). Tulips are poking up, my camellia has the loveliest pink blossoms, and the forsythia is a blaze of yellow. But when I was in England a few years ago, I noticed a two different signs of spring than I am used to in the Pacific Northwest. And they would have been seen in the Regency as well.
1. Daffodils. Yes, I have daffodils in my flower bed, but in England it’s common to see them naturalized, raising their golden heads from every grassy nook and across wide fields. They certainly inspired the poet, William Wordsworth, who wrote about them from the Lakes District in 1807.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
2. March hares. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, anyone? Even though that book by Lewis Carroll was first published in 1865, young lords and ladies in Regency England would have heard the saying, “Mad as a March hare.” European hares, or brown hares as they are often called in England, do appear a bit mad this time of year as they hop about during mating rituals. With a top speed of 45 miles an hour, they are England’s fastest land animal. Apparently, the lady uses her back legs to force away overly amorous gentlemen. Though approaching endangerment today, they were far more numerous in the 1800s. Even when they aren’t mating, these creatures have been known to jump hedgerows— forwards and backwards! Now, that’s a sign to watch for!
Any interesting signs of spring in your area?