Through the discombobulating gloom of January and the bone-gnawing chill of February I waited. Then came the kaleidoscopic weather of March and April (rain, sunshine, thick grey cloud, sleet and gales – sometimes all within the space of an hour).

Still, I persevered, noting every glistening bud and the slow creep of greenery high in the tree branches, a growing patchwork of leafy foliage hugging the meandering paths. They say you shouldn’t wish your life away, but I was waiting for May and a magical sight to make the heart soar.

And now, finally, it is here: a carpet of bluebells stretching as far as the eye can see, the unmistakable scent and vibrant burst of colour every bit as delectable as I had hoped.

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If you haven’t been bluebell-spotting yet, then I urge you to hotfoot it to the nearest woods this weekend. You won’t regret it. One of the great joys is that it is fleeting, meaning you have to savour every second of this evanescent beauty, carefully wrapping the memory in tissue paper until next year.  

I spend a lot of time in the woods these days. Whether pottering with the dog as he revels in all the “sniffs” or running along pine-needle-strewn, muddy trails, there is always something new to engage the senses.

Sure, the panoramic views from atop a mountain are life-affirming and few things invigorate quite like a bracing coastal walk as the wind whips the froth off the waves, but my happy place – if I can use that phrase without sounding cringingly twee – is the comforting cocoon of the trees.

It is a balm for the soul. Describing the essence of that delight – without being mawkish – is trickier than it first seems. When penning this column, I had a couple of failed attempts at jotting down a recent woodland encounter.

The first draft read like a chapter in a Mills & Boon bodice ripper; the second resembled the opening scenes of a slasher movie/alien abduction scenario (which is surely a trifecta mash-up genre just waiting to be explored – well, that is, if it doesn’t already exist in the darker corners of Wattpad).

It was early on a spring morning, the dappled sunlight filtering softly through the trees. As my dog sniffed a molehill, I had a sudden sensation of being watched. Slowly I looked round and saw a young deer, only a few feet away, observing me with more curiosity than fear.

We locked eyes through the trees. Both the deer and I stood stock still, each silently surveying the other. I could see its breath rising in the chilly air. Then somewhere in the distance a twig snapped and there was a rustle in the undergrowth – birds or rabbits perhaps – that broke the moment.

The deer turned swiftly on heel and cantered down a nearby banking to where the rest of its family were waiting. My dog, still engrossed in the molehill, completely missed the entire interaction. It was one of those unexpected and special connections with nature that left me smiling the whole day.

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At least once a week I try to go for a run in the woods. I’ve been working my way through an old West Lothian guidebook, picking the spots that look like they might have the best trails.

So far, this whistle-stop tour has taken me to Polkemmet Country Park near Whitburn (home to a copse of Western red cedar beside the mausoleum) and Beecraigs Country Park in the Bathgate Hills (a tranquil cathedral of towering Scots pine, Sitka spruce and conifers).

Another gorgeous area to explore is Wester Shore Wood, stretching from Abercorn towards Blackness, which offers dreamy glimpses of rocky, shell-covered beaches and the lapping waters of the Firth of Forth through the trees.

No matter how tough the week has been or what life has thrown at me, I feel my shoulders drop and the stress ebb away. All is good again in the world.