As I was walking and saw the yellow daffodil heads collectively smiling at me along with the crocuses tentatively peeking out of the cold blanket of grass, I was reminded of my walks a few months ago, sometimes in the snow and rain and often in the cold and grey. I recall from that time, a distinctive thought in my mind, a question really “How can this bleakness produce blooms?”

With all the uncertainty that our lives have faced in the past year, I was even questioning the very fact of nature to return each Spring. I doubted. And yet, here they are, these perfectly formed yellow splashes of joy across the park landscape. No matter what, the certainty of them blooming is reassuring. And yet, how to live with the uncertainty of our times? It occurred to me that sometimes growth happens, but it doesn’t always look like a daffodil. It can also look like a weed; there are truly beautiful weeds and they too are a symbol of growth.

During these extraordinary times, uncertainty has become a companion of mine. It even stalks my thoughts about Mother Nature’s ability to work her magic. Prior to the pandemic, uncertainty was always with us, for our lives are fragile and uncertain yet we tend to fill our calendars and diaries with plans and holidays and busyness that can offer a sense of certainty, of knowing and of course a sense of something to “look forward to” I have had to challenge that thinking in my own life during these periods of lockdown. For if I am not “looking forward to something” I am left with myself in the here and now. With all my attendant emotions, feelings and yes, uncertainty. The paradox is when I live and breathe in each day, focus on that day, on the moments that day offers, I find I can be so much more present for myself as well as for others, despite the uncertainty that surrounds us.

So, although uncertainty has claimed the spotlight for the past year, it has always been there, in the shadows, crowded out by a need to distract and uplift. But accepting the uncertainty and the not knowing is to accept that life is one big question mark and the more we cling on to the past or the future it is certain we will miss the present.