There is a whisper in the air on Candlemas eve. It isn’t the whisper of spring, but of snow, swirling under the streetlights like communion wafers. Light brims night’s darkness, softening brick and tarmac, swaddling pavements. The infrequent crackle of tyres over crusty snow is the only sound. There is nothing quite like watching the drowsy fall of snow at night, it makes me think of infinity.
Candlemas day is dusky blue. We roll down the motorway to Winston’s hydrotherapy session, hissing over roads lined by snow-laden trees. The landscape is a dance of white and blue: the bleached land widens the sky, while the sky washes the land pale blue. The morning is as delicately rendered as Chinese porcelain. In the evening, the clouds are peach puffs and snow-coated roofs blush pink.
But the whisper of spring is there, buried beneath the murmur of snow. It is there in crocuses poking their yellow heads through the soil and in quivering clusters of snowdrops. Winter has been mild, and flowers have bloomed when no flowers should have done, but the crocus and the snowdrop are flowers in their time, heralds of the soft beginning to spring. This is still a time of repose and reflection before the energising surge of the wild March winds. But some blooms have already heard the sigh of spring.
It isn’t yet time for spring cleaning. Candlemas is a quiet welcome to the first fragile signs of the season. But we are getting a new kitchen, so it is time to declutter after all. We spend days clearing and boxing things up. Throwing out food long past its sell by date, never-used gadgets, all the detritus that has accumulated over fifteen years of living in our house. It is a relief to be free of things that you’ve forgotten. They still whisper from those dusty corners, wanting to be used or put out of their misery.
A few days after Candlemas, I walk with Winston in the dene. A congregation of songbirds greets us: two blue tits, a long-tailed tit, a chaffinch and a bullfinch flitter among an arc of bare branches. The sun is glorious, but ice ripples the paths. Chunks of snow crowd the stilled burn. The pond is frozen milky grey. The ducks and the gulls have abandoned it, leaving a couple of moorhens to strut over the ice.
The reeds are strands of gold with feathered ivory heads. I watch their shadows sway and bounce on the path as Winston pauses to eat goose grass. The daffodil shoots aren’t yet ready to bloom, but violets bathe in the sun. Two purple crocuses have emerged, petals still tucked in around them like blankets. The whisper of the snow has abated, to make way for the whisper of spring. I can hear it like a sigh in the wind, growing stronger, until it becomes a roar.
Blogger book of the month: The Storyteller Speaks by Annika Perry
I felt as though I immediately ‘clicked’ with Annika when I started reading her blog. She shares warm, eclectic posts on writing, reading and life. Her first book, The Storyteller Speaks is a wonderful collection of short stories, flash fiction and poems that depict a wide range of events, characters and viewpoints. At the centre of each is human relationships and the effect that a single event can often have on the course of a life. A full gamut of emotions is here, including love, grief, anger and redemption. The stories are moving, uplifting, sometimes dark, sometimes amusing. My favourites include: The Whiteout Years which is a heart-breaking and touching depiction of grief and hope; and Loss of a Patriarch, a moving story about saying goodbye to Annika’s grandfather. I also enjoyed the influences of the author’s Swedish heritage. This is a collection to savour and a book that fulfils its promise to win your heart. You can find Annika here and her book is available on Amazon.