The view from my window is an English view. Green, even in mid-winter, as the morning frost fades. The grass that once attempted to be a lawn sits in rough clumps. The shrubs are bare and seem brown, but even the dull branches of the lilac reveal pinks, ochres, khakis and blues. The subtle shades of a British winter. And today I notice that beneath them the first snowdrops are pushing through. The ‘green fuse that drives the flower’ is on the move. Yesterday there was nothing; today the unstoppable force of spring, waking up the near-dormant winter.
A magpie alights on the small apple tree and comically nearly overbalances, its long black tail pendulum-ing itself upright. In the scraggy hawthorn hedge, small flocks of finches – linnets, goldfinches, chaffinches – chatter by. I learned recently that birds have different seasons and that for them it is already spring. Their instincts are all directed towards pairing and breeding. So while we are stuck in January, they are already leaving winter behind and already flying towards the lighter days.
the magpie’s long black tail pendulum-ing itself upright.
At the fence, two lime trees rise up, sturdy trunks branching ever finer into delicate filigree that sweeps the cold sky.
Beyond is the field, where my Shetland ewes are enjoying the sun as it begins to percolate through their fleeces. They settle down in a comfortable plush circle, chewing and dozing. All last week they had their heads down, leaning into the shed walls to shelter from relentless wind and rain. But today it is sunny and still – still winter.
© Laura Parker