Snowfall and Firelight.
So another week passes by in this endless lockdown. I’m at the point where all time is blurring into one. What day is it? Who knows. But this week at least brought some change in the form of snow – a good few inches here in Yorkshire. Standing at the doorway, watching shimmering white flakes falling lazily down against the grey-brown backdrop of cloud felt otherworldly for a moment. A little time snatched where the world wasn’t on fire, but instead was muted, where nothing mattered but the snow, falling, falling, and settling gently on the ground.
I spent a while wandering around the garden enjoying the crunching underfoot. There’s something about that noise, as a boot sole crushes down on pristine, glittering snow… it’s joyful. I made tracks all around the house. It’s one of the only times where you can see what else has been wandering in the garden too – the plod of cat footprints, the hop hop hop of birds.
Cold weather brings a new routine. Lighting the greenhouse heater at night, with a torch and misting breath. Breaking the ice on the birdbath in the morning, clearing away snowfall and scattering some seed for hungry feathered friends. Perching on a footstool next to the window with a coffee, warming my knees on the radiator, waiting for those birds to come for breakfast. I’ve found my mind so slow these last few weeks. I’m tired, that chronic fatigue tiredness that is inexplainable to anyone who doesn’t feel it too. Bone-tired. Soul-tired. World-through-cotton-wool-tired. Maybe it’s just winter. Maybe it’ll pass soon enough.
Despite this cold, bulbs are growing strongly. Hellebores bud into tentative bloom, with no care for frost or snow. A few days later, rain arrives, bringing the inevitable slush underfoot, meltwater, dripping from branches and rooftops. The green peeks through again. That winter faded colour returns from under the layers of white.
Instead of focusing on the new term, on homework, on literature reviews and deadlines, my brain is demanding quiet. Curl up on the sofa, it tells me. Rest awhile. I’ve been resting for five years, I tell it back. Then more rest, the brain replies. Heal well. Heal slowly. And so I stop fighting it and rest with the winter, soul turning with the dark nights still. I write this in front of the fire, where I have been for the last few hours. Dancing, flickering flames, warming damp socks from a short walk earlier. There’s something magical about a fire. I’ve pulled the armchairs up close, and we spent an afternoon dozing, slowing. Taking it in turns to poke the flames, add another log, pick an ember from the carpet.
And tomorrow, a week anew.