Winter is flirting with us. She visits fleetingly leaving a sprinkle of ice-white powder. She stays for breakfast, but by lunch she is gone, only a few rimy traces remaining. Leaves are preserved in a sugar of frost crystals, giving clarity to their design. Ponds freeze over, in clear geometrics. The wind moans constantly. Raw air freezes us. But winter never quite delivers on her warnings.
This winter has been very different to the last. Last year the mud arrived and stayed for the season. This year the frosts have come. The glitter of ice in the mornings and that raw cold that comes as the day begins to die. It’s been two years since we had more than a flurry of snow. Our spring was bountiful, our summer warm, so it seemed we were destined for a hard winter. But the cold has been interspersed with mild, sunny days. The leaves took their time to fall and occasional flowers have bloomed through the season. There’s still a chance of snow but it’s only a matter of time before winter withdraws altogether.
Still, winter wants to give us notice. She lets us know that she is a possibility, just before Candlemas heralds the first stirrings of spring. On the day that winter visits, I see the first spring bulbs, thrusting through the snow-dust. Buttery crocus flowers waiting to open and a handful of daffodils in green bud. A day later, winter is gone and the crocuses have opened their whorl of petals. There are hazel catkins everywhere, featherlight fingers dangling.
I’m in suspension. Like a half-frozen pond. Still and dormant on one side, unruly ripples on the other. The two parts are in tension, caught between dream and action. My box of dreams has germinated and the front runners have emerged. I’ve honed the dreams into seeds, ready to be planted now Candlemas is here. But at the moment, those seeds are like that frozen pond – paused. I have no desire to do anything with them. I’m waiting for that ripple to set them off on their journey.