Yesterday we walked on May Hill.
All around us was winter. I can no longer live in denial. I can no longer pretend that this is Autumn, the tail ends of the summer or that the year is gently waning.
The trees are bare, save for a few apples hanging as baubles on a pauper's thread-bare christmas tree. The Bracken is rust brown, dank, wet and bowed down. All delicate growth, all blossom, all of natures fragility is gone.
I find this time of year so hard to endure. My soul coils within. I need to find a way to hibernate, a way to survive, some ritual that I can keep as a force of habit to make these days go by but to mark them so that something continues to grow deep within.
I find myself searching for any sign of life and of the new spring to come and it is there. There are buds; the Horse-chestnut tightly wrapped beneath a sticky, hard veneer like shellac, or in the garden the Magnolia buds furled in their soft downy sheath, like some cold and austere ice maiden dressed in ermine, waiting on her own timing to grace the world.
These are signs which say that life is just dormant and that spring will come again.
And so I wait for the Blackthorn blossom. This is my harbinger of spring, for once the Blackthorn has burst into white clouds of shimmering confetti then spring will be following close behind. I'll know that it won't be long before the hedgerows will acquire just the lightest dusting of brilliant sap green and then, as if from nowhere, they will be swathed and bursting in every shade of the freshest greens that Adam ever saw.
So til then, I will write and find some other ways to tend my tender, dormant soul.
Blackthorn - Prunus spinosa
(photograph Sheila Simms)