It’s strange, isn’t it, that having enjoyed such a long and balmy autumn here in the UK and despite what December threw at us, the very moment the clock ticked onto 2023, we began to look for signs of spring? It is the way we work: the more we ignore winter, the more likely it is to go away. That December froze the noses off all those sadly deluded little pieces of flora that poked them out in the unseasonably mild November, thinking that April had arrived, is of no concern to us now, because April really is closer than it was then, and the clouts that I must not cast until May is out are already in the charity bag.
I have to admit that I quite enjoy the dark nights of winter, because nothing quite matches the thrill of hauling my multi-layered body through the door that lies between icy wind and lukewarm radiators, and not being able to see for five minutes because my glasses have steamed up. Not daring to take my hat off for the fear of the kind of ‘hot aches’ in my ears that could force me to remove them with the bread knife. Not realising that I have trodden in dog crap until it has thawed out on the door mat… The coldest of the seasons does have its joys, although most of them lie in finding ways to avoid it: open fires, closed doors, hot chocolate and the kind of stew that substantially lined your arteries as a child. When else can you come inside before you take your wellies off? When else is it permissible to wear socks – although not tan leather brogues – in bed? When else is it permissible to celebrate being on the face-side of a freezing nose by sticking it in a loved one’s ear?
I am notoriously unstable on snow and ice so I’m always pleased to see the back of that threat – there is a limit to how many times I can find myself on my arse before I get fed up with it – and, like everybody else, I look forward to reducing the number of layers I am forced to wear in order to keep warm (although not, these days, the thermal vest, which has something like a two week window in August to rest and recuperate before the temperature begins to fall again). We are all happy when the thermometer climbs high enough for us to stop pretending that the central heating thermostat has broken.
The most important thing that spring brings is colour. After a brief spell of snowdrops we get daffodils, aconites, crocuses, and bluebells – all of which lighten the soul even while warning of the impending ‘You will soon have to start mowing the lawn again’ scenario. Each day the trees get greener. Each day the weeds get longer. Each day the evenings grow lighter and the threat of the barbecue season grows greater.
Time to start wishing for winter…
One thought on “Signs of Spring”
Winters never seem as cold as they used to be. At boarding school in Devon (“Oh how nice, it is so mild in Devon!”) (Like hell) my ears and nose and fingers and feet were agonized. Those wretched nuns used to make us walk on Sunday afternoon along the cliffs in a howling gale. And there were all those times, waiting for trains on frozen platforms, then the journey in a stuffy/smelly carriage trying to see out of steamed up windows. So, because I didn’t like that, I got sent to America which in fact had much colder winters, but warm houses. Now, though, I try to enjoy every season. There is something good in each one but I really really don’t like hot weather. I wish I had some snow drops.
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