As one year teeters into another, my body is all at sea. A stray bug or perhaps the sigh of inactivity after the busyness of December. Flu sweeps in on Boxing Day and the lead up to the year end is fever, aches and pains, a chest infection. It leaves me with labyrinthitis, an ear condition I get sometimes that feels like constant motion sickness. So there is no optimistic, energetic start to the year. I can’t walk far, I can’t use a screen, I can only read for short bursts. Confined to the house, I hardly notice the passing days, or what is happening outside.
So far winter has been short and kind. There has been almost no rain and little frost. It has been mild, often grey but often sunny. The weeks leading up to the end of the year blinked by and I wonder if the rest of winter will be so quick.
It’s the second week of January when I’m well again and I walk to the sundial. It is just after dawn but you would hardly know it. The morning is grey with little colour. Subdued greens and browns with only a handful of gorse flowers offering anything brighter. Drizzle seeps from the sky. A gaggle of mallards follow me hopefully around the edge of the pond, clucking quietly. Otherwise there are few obvious signs of life. A male blackbird clatters out of a ditch and across the path, glaring at me from a fence post.
Raindrops cling to the alders on the path to the sundial. Up top there is little evidence that the sun has just risen. The hills are a misty grey smudge with a hint of pastel orange in the west. The sky brims with dirty grey cloud. Only a small patch of illuminated pink shows where the sun might be. The horizon is blurred, the sea nondescript, turbines foggy shapes in the distance. I hear the two note call of a great tit. Another joins it at the other side of the park. It is icy cold up here, my limbs already feel chilled.
Two woodpigeons fly from the path as I descend. A thrush sings a song full of climbing whistles. A lone herring gull charms worms with his feet. The sky lightens in patches until a wisp of cloud forms miniature inverted tornado in the distance, trailing upwards. Later, the first snow of the year falls. It is hardly recognisable as snow, only a hint of white and the way the tiny flakes drift distinguishes it from the morning’s drizzle. It seems that winter hasn’t made up its mind whether to be fair or foul. It teeters between the two. But my enforced absence has meant that I’ve already noticed a change in the air. Already the days don’t seem quite so dark. There may well be storms to come, but the scent of spring is there, on the misty horizon.
Blogger Book of the Month: Teagan Geneviene – Atonement in Bloom
Blogging has introduced me to many talented authors, some of whom have featured on this blog. This year I’ll be highlighting a few of the great books I’ve been reading by fellow bloggers.
I’m always delighted by the unique and magical stories that Teagan Geneviene creates, many of which are written spontaneously, week by week, on her blog. Her new book, Atonement in Bloom is the second in a series of books set in the magical town of Atonement, Tennessee. This book has all the whimsy, wonder and enchantment of the first. Ralda Lawton lives in an old house in a small southern town that has more than its share of magic. A woman created from flowers, a mischievous calico cat, a herd of glowing pigs and the Queen of Winter herself all appear in this novel. I would love to live in the enchanted town Teagan has created and to meet the characters that are so lovingly and inventively depicted. This is a hugely original book that weaves myth and imagination into a compelling story. The ending suggests that there may be more to come in future and, until then, I’ll be homesick to return to Atonement. You can find Teagan’s blog here and her books are available on Amazon.