Saturday, 14 March 2015

Cold Bloody Cold and a Little Island

It's been one of those long damp winters that were really neither one thing nor another. Here we are, half way through March and I'm on my third or fourth cold of the season while starting to collect spring daffodils. It hasn't been that cold in terms of the temperature and we've only had a couple of weeks of winter really, over late January and early February. And then I see this photo on Twitter this morning of snow in Northumberland. What's going on?

Down here in London I like going past St Leonard's churchyard that's been there for 1,000 years and see the purple crocuses emerge from the soil and the green leaves of daffodils starting to sprout. The trees are starting to produce little buds of new leaves and they're all about to explode into fresh, new green. Give it another few weeks and the trees will start greening and the blossom will start exploding. There's an old May tree in my garden that starts shooting out purple-red blossom in May - it does it every year like clockwork after most of the blossom on other trees has finished. That's because it's a native tree, not an import over the last few hundred years when botanists scoured the planet to bring back prizes. It's almost like it's saying to the newer breeds of trees - look at me, I know when it's safe to throw out the flowers.

We're in that awkward transition moment between seasons when it's never safe to assume one day will be the same as the next. Slightly too cold for a jacket and slightly too warm for a winter coat so what should we do? The same as every year and rough it.

I love winter and crisp mornings, seeing my breath mist the air in front of me, hats and scarfs and feeling the warmth when you step inside. Big boots to cope with slippy frost, ice and snow giving way to lighter shoes. Now that I've given up on snow I've started to look forward to spring and summer. To longer days and warmer sun, to gradually wearing less and being outdoors more, to strolling rather than walking briskly. All too soon we'll be revelling in the golden days of high summer and not believe that it will ever be different and then the seasons will change again.

I love the seasons we have in this country. That's partly why I don't think I could live anywhere else. They're not extreme but they're noticeable and every year is slightly different and that keeps us guessing. The first time I went to Sri Lanka and fell in love with the place I wondered if I could live there and decided I couldn't because I'd miss the seasons. I'd yearn for home. The lush greenery and beauty of Sri Lanka tugs at me and it's a place I hope to visit regularly but I don't think I could live there. Well, maybe for a year or two but then I'd have to come home. Isn't it odd that a few hundred square miles of land on the edge of the great Atlantic can mean so much? Can mean home? But this little island is home.

Come wind! Come storm! Come sun and lazy summer days. You all belong to me. But please get rid of this annoying cold! 

No comments: