A central capital diary: spring

04 April 2024 | Inspiration
Robert Moore
Member: London
There are times throughout the year when I yearn to be living in the countryside – this is one of them. That's down to spring, whose power is so much more evident there than in urban settings, and specifically, the centre of the capital.

For such a powerful season – arguably the strongest of the five elements seasons – spring is not quite so evident in the city. But still there’s no mistaking its presence, its atmosphere, its effects, its influence.

Even in the grip of winter January, I see here and there, in urban parks and front gardens, tight buds on dark, skeletal trees and bushes. The light blue rosemary blossom is one of the first to give colour at this time – beneath them can be seen the fresh green shoots of first bulbs. The light is beginning to feel brighter and dawn and dusk are drawing out. The sun is setting a little further along the horizon each day and its arc through the sky is a little higher. The moon’s position is directly overhead, early evening, not lower down to the horizon on its trajectory.

The great awakening in nature is one huge mighty surge of energy as plants and trees explode into life

Sitting in Redcross Gardens on the first of February, in soft, warm sunshine – a fox trotted in from the street and proceeded to quickly head for a border, sniffing the ground, looking up a high ivy-clad wall, barking – a magpie’s nest? It had silver sides, a ginger back and legs, full-bodied, a bushy tail – this was no skinny, urban skank! This, in full sight of The Shard and Guy’s Hospital high tower, underneath the active flight path of Heathrow Airport and a circling helicopter – within a skip of the square mile and earshot of London Bridge metropolis. Where does he/she bed down at night?

Now in late March, there is a faint green tinge to the dark, skeletal trees in the park. Bushes out early have produced gossamer thin, baby soft, vivid green leaves – later in the year they will have doubled in size, thickened and leatherised. The cherry blossom has been out about two weeks, a visual madness of block colour. Daffodils give yellow splashes of colour, trumpeting their optimism – other bulbs are flourishing.

The dawn chorus of blackbird and finches echoes above the early commuter traffic, against the static buildings. Daylight is longer, the light is strong, focused, positive, direct, motivated, coming daily from higher degrees in the sky – nature embraced within it is wild with growth, enthusiasm, thriving, writhing to reach up to it. The sun has increasing warmth.

So what other ways do I see in the capital that spring is here? I see spreads of holiday ads in travel agent windows, in newspapers – the travel section in the weekend paper is thicker. I hear of music concerts that reflect a lighter, energetic, seasonal theme; I see a livelier step in people on the streets and a lifting in their faces of the winter gloom; I see a tad more green in their clothing! I encounter a tad more spirited aggression; I see pubs with drinkers spilled out onto the pavement after work and eateries with outdoor seating, with the lighter, warmer early evenings. With the clocks going forward, it has escalated early evening activity.

Robert Moore Article Pic

I visualise the transition from winter to spring as an emergence from a dark, deep tunnel, up up into the light… Spring vegetables appear in the shops – carrots, new potatoes, kale, parsnips, rhubarb, rocket, spinach, spring greens, spring onions, watercress.

The wood element – the driver of spring – in five element acupuncture is the child of water – winter – and the parent of fire – summer – summoning its strength from its parent and feeding the child to enable it to flourish and expand to its full potential.

Wood’s associated colour is green – its emotion anger, its sound shout, its odour rancid, its taste sour, its climate wind, its spirit hope, its drive is decision making, justice and fair judgement. Wood governs muscles and sinews and the smooth flow of qi within the body; its organs are the gall bladder and the liver, the eyes are the orifice and sense organ of wood; the liver harbours the soul and the spiritual faculties.

The strength and determination of spring is directed by the wood element and seen in mammals and plants as they switch from the hibernation mode of winter to the powerful vibrancy of spring. Its vigour is enormous, exampled by the power of tree roots under tarmac or concrete, pushing up, expanding, cracking both in its strength.

The great awakening in nature is one huge mighty surge of energy as plants and trees, dormant in the winter months, explode into life. Birds and animals proclaim their prowess, push to mate, reproduce and bring the process of regeneration into being with great force and determination. I hear blackbird song at 2.30 am… I hear crows cawing likewise, as they fly past my window, territorial activities.

Robert Moore Article Pic

Wood then passes its completed task on to the fire element – its child – to mature and flourish. I treat my patients with the wonderful horary wood points, to facilitate the switch into the season and support the wood’s energetic striving. Some points on both channels clearly indicate the wood qualities and character – Gate of Hope LIV 14, Chapter Gate LIV 13, Hasty Pulse LIV 12, Five Miles LIV 10, Supreme Rushing LIV 3, Head Above Tears GB 15, Upright Living GB 17, Bright and Clear GB 35, Valiant Tears GB 43.

We emerge from the dormant gloom, cold of winter via the vibrant energy of wood, into light, bursting life. And I have jettisoned my dark winter clothes for lighter coloured garments…

Let Harriet Ann Jacobs have the last say: ‘The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also’.

Robert started adult life training to be a classical ballet dancer; after a 10 year career working in Austria, France, Canada and London’s West End he retrained as an acupuncturist, graduating in 1992 from where he set up his practice in a Buddhist run practice in London’s East End for the next 30 years. He also worked in the Admissions Dept at the British  Acupuncture Council for 17 years alongside his practice.