As the late spring slowly warms the woodland floor, I wait impatiently for the flowers and insects to appear. Pacing this way and that, hopes suddenly raised by a movement.... but no - a leaf blown by the wind.
A glimpse of purple..... not an orchid, but another spike of ground ivy. It's still too early, still too cold.
Willow warblers, chiffchaffs and blackcaps sing, but there's no nightingales here yet.
I sit down on the dry hard ground. Sitting is good - I should do more of it. Closer to the ground, the world of small is seen. Beeflies come and go, ants clamber amongst the blades of grass, and in the delicate bloom of a primrose, death.
A crab spider has its prey, and clings on. The spider - probably a female - can change colour chameleon-like to match its background.
A flutter of wings low across the ground is not a leaf this time, but my own quarry - a Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, briefly seen, quickly lost, not to be refound.
More pacing up and down, eyes on my feet. Buds of Lady Orchids are seen, but it will be a week or so before they are in full flower.
But on Samphire Hoe, among some tight-shut buds, one Early Spider Orchid is open......... spring is underway. Foreshortened, late, but underway.
Memo to me : sit down more. Or lie down if appropriate.