Jonathan: Friday 13th – unlucky for some, it’s said. But not for us, this time at least : Spring has arrived at last! I can’t tell you how much I love blackbirds, especially their song. I only noticed him when, as I was pottering about at the back of the house, I stopped to think through some minor difficulty with an even more minor task : I heard a faint whistle, but more musical than that of the all-too familiar ‘whish’ of a cold wind over the top of the garden wall. I looked up – there he was, his body motionless other than barely perceptible palpitations at his throat, and a slight rocking with the wind. In past years I’ve heard a male blackbird, in the gloom of a late winter afternoon, somewhere amongst the logs of the wood store, singing so softly, so quietly as if teetering at the very threshold of silence. Who but himself was he singing for, or could hear him? I’ve thought that such song is sung solely for the encouragment of the singer himself – as a relief to the long and lonely – and hungry – months of winter. But today was different: though the wind was still cold and brisk, the warming early spring sunshine had encouraged him up on to the high ledge of the wall to sing his song for almost half an hour in the same spot. Though still too quiet to be heard more than few metres away, he song was now of the colour and vigour that are the very essence of early Spring, when hope yields to expectation, and patient stillness to the joyful exuberence of life renewed and rediscovered.