This is the time of year when often, in past years, I have been barely holding on to my sanity. Something in the post-Christmas months of still-winter-not-yet-spring dulls my senses and my thinking, makes me feel low, has me craving comfort but not able to find it in ordinary lovely things like warm food or wood fires or lazy film nights. I know I know I know that there is a beauty in the dark season – ‘dark balm’ is how I have described the comfortable accompaniment during some of the sleepless early morning hours (see the blog post under the same name), and poetry has flowed from my heart and hand about, for example, the awesomeness of trees in the simplicity of their patient winter nakedness (‘Autumn’s Awe’). Yet this year my whole self tells me that any number of wishful projections are not touching on reality. Right now it is the nearly-falling-off-the-cliff sensations that undermine my nights and days alike: being unable to sleep for days in a row leaves me feeling like there is nothing stable inside or outside me. On these days I can’t say for sure that I am functioning normally in anything; I simply cannot tell any more.
But when I go into the woods there is something about the first green points of the bluebell leaves that sparks a wild hope inside me. I know that in a few months there will be blue carpets being rolled out at my feet here, beside the paths where I live. What I see today is courage pushing its way out of the cold, damp earth, in tiny, stubborn spikes, at the base of the trees, under the bare bramble scrub, over in the dippy by the edge of the newly ploughed farmer’s field. And what I sense is an almighty underground rumble. I do! I sense an almighty rumbling under my feet. These tiny bulbs have started, long before any evidence emerges above ground of the excitement of the approaching season,
to thrust their energy downwards, insist to the hardness and darkness that surrounds them that they will stretch their fragile yet resolute roots down, down, down, downwards so that … so that soon there will be an exploding life-force revealed in flowers fit for a queen’s bower.
And so I hope.
I hope, that as this greenery on the woodland floor foretells an outburst of sun-summoned flowering, as some warmer breezes begin to dance with long-skirted hazel catkins, as the willow trees push out their pretty pussy-paws that stir memories of a wonder-struck childhood, so I too will find newly quickened ways to be me, as surely as winter makes way for spring.