Notebook Entries – Late Winter 2020

Throughout the week I post on Facebook or Instagram, inspired by daily interactions with nature, the view from my window, or other things that catch my eye. Incase you have missed any of them, here is a curated selection of my regular notes.

January 9th
It’s the darkness in the mornings that gets me. Half-minute by half-minute the evenings are pushing out, but it’s still deeply dark when we wake. Today wind blows waves of rain against the window, a rugged remote and wild sound, that prowls like a beast, cloaked by the blackness that pushes up agains the panes. Even the song thrush has allowed its voice to be drowned this morning, his spell song usually swells the light; without it will there be a dawn? The wind claws and hums, testing the entrances of our home, finds its way down the chimney; inside and out. The draft disturbs the scent of the hyacinth that stands on my desk. An odourant balm that soothes and lulls winter’s feverish strains. Robin takes his place as the thrushes understudy, ardently singing the morning to lightness.

January 12th
It’s this quiet time that speaks to me loudest; the dark of a weekend morning, when all the world’s inhabitants seem still asleep and the whole home breathes softly in their rhythm. This is my time, I try to stretch it as long as a mug of tea can last. Inspiration comes tiptoeing in with the dawn, (when dark is distracted chasing the robin song through the gardens and away into the deep woods), but is scorched away by full daylight. It’s this quiet hour that speaks to me loudest.

January 24th
It’s not looking much like spring out there yet. It’s more of an audio thing currently; you have to listen to know the season. Song Thrush and Robin have been singing for weeks, Great Tit lectures from the budding willow, Dunnock hesitates.

February 8th
Out and about with the sun streaming through the car window and birds dancing in winds against blue skies, we were tempted to stop and to linger, divert and explore. We visited 3 different churches and indulged in history, from 1000year old frescos, to war graves with stories to tell, and following in the footsteps of King Harold. Huge rotund bumblebees fuzz-buzzed between crocus and snowdrop, celandine and narcissus. We watched a song thrush popping in and out a hedge with beakfulls of grass; nest building. The flood meadows still looked quakingly wet after the seasons repetitive rains. Spring seemed to be calling, just around the next corner.

February 13th
Yesterday seemed like a miracle – fresh and bright, bathed in sunshine under blue skies and glorious despite the chill wind. A respite between the gales and downpours, a day to grasp and hold tight to the soul as we brace for yet more wet and windy storm weather. Outdoor outings for this weekend cancelled, Friday plans changed. More ‘battening down the hatches’. This morning is grey and dull, birds hurried. As though nature too is taking a deep breath, paying attention to its roots. But however grey and rough it gets, bringing a little of nature’s magic and beauty into my home always provides a lift. The flowers on my windowsill are proclaiming spring with all their might. On the birdfeeder beyond them a marsh tit has discovered the delights of a suet filled half coconut shell, and blue tits flit back and forth from the cherry on the green. We’ve lost a couple of apple trees from the green, I hope they’ll be replaced. In the meantime: flowers. Yellow pink white and green. Colour on a grey day. Spring in spite of the storms.

Februrary 24th
Woke up thinking about those hares [seen the day before on an evening run]. A long walk today perhaps, past their field, under the bridge where I could pause and look for owl pellets secretly careless dropped into the emerging green of lords-and-ladies and cleavers. Under the ash branches that clack in the wind. Beneath the flight of geese and plump grey pigeons. But I look and see the rain slants sideways, getting under the feathers of the tits on the feeders, lifting bramble leaves the shape and russet of bullfinch. Make another cup of tea. Wonder if spring will ever brighten from a slimy shade of grey. Think of the hare hunkered in their flint-lined forms, field-edge and furrow-sheltered. They keep their secrets folded in a crease of land. Rummage for a biscuit to go with my tea, I’ll walk later perhaps, if the rain eases.

This long late winter and spring has been chilly but not bitterly cold, and it has been wet and grey. In fact, February has been reported as the wettest on record. The rain and the all pervading damp-chill seems to have been never ending, but looking back there have been some glimmering days of sun. Thats the value of a diary or notebook, (online or otherwise) – it remembers things we don’t.

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