It's that time of year again when we whirl the hands of our clocks round an hour, and believe that summer has arrived. Altering the dial on our man-made time-measuring devices doesn't actually change anything else of course, but it makes us feel differently, when our clocks tell us it is seven o'clock in the evening and the sun is still high. On a personal level - it would be nice if we could tweak the weather in the same way, and dial-up a few weeks of mild, dry days so I can get the allotment in order before the dark days of lockdown are lightened.
If the vaccine and virus control measures are judged by our government to have been effective, it will only be a matter of a couple of weeks before UK-based travellers begin to flock back to Skye. There is no doubt that numerous small businesses here will welcome the new influx of visitors with wide open arms, but I know that with some sadness I will immediately miss the silence and peace that has flooded the island for much of the past year. I have to admit, though, that even I will be pleased to see our long-empty cottages once again occupied by excited explorers.
But is this not short-sighted gratification? Are we really coming out of the darkness? Very few parts of the world have had effective vaccination programmes, and by far the majority of the world population remains vulnerable to the virus. Unless international travel is totally banned - which is surely not going to happen - I can only see a future where new strains of the virus develop and re-infect the population of parts of the planet where we had felt we had won the battle.
I suspect the much talked about 'new normal' will have to become our way of life for the foreseeable future. The need for frequent booster vaccinations is already on the cards. Will we for-ever be wearing face masks in crowded public places? Will I ever again feel comfortable to queue for a drink in a busy bar, or sit in a packed cinema for a couple of hours to watch a film? 'New normal' is going to take some getting used to.
But enough of today's pessimism and woe. Look! The rain showers are passing, sun is shining, and spring flowers are blooming. There is a expression of hope on smiling faces we see on the TV news. People are booking holidays. I myself have made arrangements to soon travel south again to see much-missed family and friends. The days ahead are surely looking brighter.