Towards the edge of spring


We wake late to damp earth on New Year’s morning. In Perthshire towns, or other photogenic Highland locations I see on Instagram, people wake to snow. Envy burns in my gullet, or perhaps it’s last night’s prosecco.

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I have an app on my phone called 72 Seasons that explores the year’s weather patterns through the ancient Japanese calendar.

It tells me that the first day of January is called ganjitsu. When the lunisolar calendar was used in Japan, this was the first day of spring. Words on my screen say, The feelings of those waiting eagerly for spring’s arrival throb intensely.

Where does hope come from, and why is it always strongest in spring?

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One morning, the sound of light rain soon turns heavy. Water drops on patio slabs, walls, rooftops, cars, misplaced jacuzzis — but also on bird backs, leaf litter, boughs, evergreens, and the small hill nearby.

It begins with wisps moving between tree trunks and bare branches, getting quickly thicker, so soon all you can see of the slope is a grey silhouette. I open the blind to watch cloud blanket the place I call home.

Later, the fog is burnt off by sunlight. Now holly leaves glow like stained glass and the new buds don’t seem too eager after all.

/

An interview tomorrow. Anxiety, anticipation, because I want the job. I will never thank the last few years for what they’ve held, but because of them, I’m more certain of what I want. Flexibility, freedom to choose where I call home, to be closer to my family, to do something with meaning.

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I’m working on my laptop. Outside, weak light comes through clouds that look like torn grey paper.

People were walking along the strip of wasteland behind our home yesterday, looking up at the empty trees. But they aren’t empty. There are magpies and pigeons and squirrels and songbirds and sometimes, when you’re lucky, a bullfinch. I waved at one of the guys from the window. What’s happening with the trees? I asked. We’re going to trim them back a bit, they said, give you more light, less leaves.

I think about this later. High winds the night before kept me awake and threw branches to the ground. The growing likelihood of worse weather as the climate changes could bring an entire tree down. Then I think of the wildlife, the thin ecosystem on my doorstep. The usual confusion of feeling both things at once.

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Good news by text still feels unusual, precious. I’m now on the edge of something. We go outside in our jackets and hats, holding a small tumbler of leftover warmth, toasting change.

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Today is Imbolc, the traditional Gaelic festival that marks the start of spring. After the dark months of winter, it represents the beginning of new life.

My growing impatience for the warmer months is mocked by the ever-so-slow sprouting of the green shoots in our small garden. I check their progress each morning.

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It’s been two years. Time has blurred by, yet feels somehow sharper, since we lost my grandmother. Sharp because it is still hard to process, and sharper still because other pain keeps coming.

In an old journal I keep a card from her, handwritten words inside, flowers on the front. From where I sit, I watch the February sky turn grey and greyer before drops of water whisper onto the delicate lilac skin of the first crocus.

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Back on the hill. Today it’s so warm, it feels like spring.

Snowdrops band together, past their best, and crocuses are crushed underfoot. The gorse is already yellow, though doesn’t yet breathe its coconut scent into the sky. We will have to wait.

At the viewpoint, we look across the Forth estuary. I take off my waterproof jacket and unzip my fleece and for the first time in this new year on Earth, sunshine touches my outstretched arms.

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3 responses to “Towards the edge of spring”

    • Thank you Nadja! I’m enjoying reading through my written journal and trying to bring memories from there to life a bit more here, on the blog — so, I’m so glad you enjoyed! Looking forward to reading more of your work too. Have been loving your reflections on winter and how special slow moments in the season can be.

      • Such a lovely idea, I have been looking at some of my writings and picking out small phrases that means more than the whole text. This is such a great way to knit them together. Thank you so much, I’m trying to write more, and after an off pressure period, it’s slowly started to flow, maybe it’s spring.

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