A teeny, tiny crocus has reared its head in the garden under the birch tree. Poking through the snow, adjacent to a singular snowdrop, the bright yellow bud looks almost fluorescent in the palate of ice whites, muted greys and browns that accompany bad weather here in the UK. It’s as if my eyes hurt a little to look at it after days of snow, blanketing the world in monochrome. Valiant little thing, saying spring is coming, just hang on in there a little while longer.
We’re so tired, we’re so tired. Watching the effects of the pandemic coming closer and closer to home. Illness, loss, worry, isolation. I feel as though I’m watching the world through a cloud, a protective bubble. Everything continues, but dulled. It just happens. It just is. I need it, though. One day soon I’ll unwrap that cotton wool, feel the torrent waiting on the other side, but for today, just for today, I move through the motions and keep on.
I watch the little crocus waving slightly in the freezing air. Daffodils are shooting up under the fir tree, yellow heads swelling in anticipation of warmer weather. Blue tits poke curious heads into the bird box. In the park, nuthatches clear out any evidence of a box’s previous occupants, fluff and feather discarded enthusiastically on the ground all around.
There is healing in watching. I find myself just sitting, cradling a cup of tea as 15 sparrows fight over the feeders, a blackbird digging in the earth below. I break the ice on the pond and feel the sharp crack more keenly than ever before. Pastel sunlight picks out ice diamonds in the snow. I exist in this space as an observer. I float. It supports me.
The wind slices down the bottom of the valley where the canal runs, but I walk there anyway, leaving the open moortops behind in favour of the protection of deep valley sides. Scarf wrapped up to my eyes, hands in pockets. In the midst of the clank and hum of factories and industry, a heron eyes the water, silent, waiting. Ducks in all colours dabble in the ripples. The woodland banks are covered in shoots. Soon will come ransoms, bluebells, anemones. Birds flitting across open spaces, twigs in their beaks.
Windowsill seeds are growing. The mornings are lighter. A sweet pea planted in December, the only one of ten to germinate, looks upwards from its toilet roll tube home and heads for the light. I continue watching, day after day. Things are changing, and there is comfort in this.