Easter is a time of rebirth; and not only in the religious sense.
All around us are signs of new life: the daffodils that line the verges of our country roads, the lambs frolicking in the fields and the lime-green leaves bursting from the hedgerows.
Easter, in short, is a season of hope – a commodity in notably short supply over the last twelve, Covid-ravaged, months.
Appropriate, therefore, that tentative signs of normality are returning to our lives. Relaxed restrictions mean that people can now meet in the open air, self-contained holiday accommodation can operate again and we are no longer being urged to “stay local”.
And, perhaps most welcome of all, hairdressers and barbers are open again – much to my own relief last Saturday, when three month’s shagginess was, blessedly, consigned to the floor.
In a couple of weeks, “non-essential” shops will be back in business, with the possibility of pubs, cafés and restaurants to follow. It seems foolhardy to believe it, but we could very shortly be seeing a return to the way of life we all took so blithely for granted.
All this progress is due to the self-discipline of millions of people across the country. People who stayed at home when they yearned to see friends and loved ones, and enjoy the simple pleasure of socialising – one of the hallmarks of being human.
It is also due, of course, to the astonishing success of the vaccination programme, which has so far seen over 30 million of our fellow-citizens receive their first dose, and the prospect of offering the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.
So our optimism is not ill-founded; but we must all be careful how we use our newly-restored freedoms.
The virus is making a worrying comeback on the continent and there is concern that there may be a third wave in this country, too.
The message therefore, must be to advance cautiously, maintaining the sensible habits that have allowed the country to open up again.
But let us also enjoy feeling the sun on our faces this Easter. We’ve earned it.