Did the year turn for you today?
Because despite the grim weather forecast, which never materialised here, spring was definitely hovering, just out of sight…
From November onwards, if leaves are still clogging up the grass, I turn a blind eye till nearly three months of indoor sofa dwelling, rug wrapping and evening candle lighting has elapsed. Black soggy leaves are ugly and need clearing, but if you pull the curtains…
In those months, mornings are for scraping winter off the windscreen, watching your breath as you enter church in the pre-heating-up phase and wondering if a wooly hat can be realistically worn whilst presiding at an 8am Holy Communion (yes, once).
But today, something shifted. Snowdrops. They were struggling because of the uncleared leaves, the leaves that should have been cleared in November. There they were in amongst the debris, and must have been bravely poking through for perhaps a month. I only noticed today though.
People notice snowdrops because of hope. I have a friend whose rheumatoid disease means that the first sign of winter losing its grip is a herald not just of longer days but also better health. For many, whether mentally or physically, the two go hand in hand.
Perhaps like others, she scans the mossy grass for hope, for the white in the green, the way the little drooping heads lift the spirits.
If you’ve had some kind of personal winter, you need a spring to follow, in more ways than one, and coming right out of the ordinary ground preferably. If you’ve ever buried someone you love, this is particularly healing, the good earth bringing something hopeful to birth.
I am no gardener, but today I had a leaf clearing afternoon. The cat watched, puzzled, her face mysteriously covered in cobwebs. The sun tried to reach warm, the rake bequeathed a blister under my gloves, and the snowdrops now breath a little easier.
Afterwards, I did a crazy English thing and had tea on the bench, covered in a rug – it was about four and the sky was still blue, the light fading, the back door, on February 7, open to the hint of spring.