I love the winter: the freshness of the air on a frosty day, your breath crystalising, marking the territory around you, the crunch your feet make when they squash the grass that’s frozen upright. But winter is at its most lovely in December. The days when the darkness is matched with the light of our celebrations. Our Christmas tree lights, our fireworks on New Year’s Eve, even the illuminated snowmen put up by the council on the lampposts. When these lights are turned off or extinguished, we are left in the cold darkness of January, even in the few hours of daytime the sun hides behind a veil of cloud.
This last winter has been worse than others. It started with the same lights, but these soon lost their normal feel and meaning. The Christmas tree lights didn’t emit the same beauty and warmth as they lacked the bands of relatives around the tree. The fireworks didn’t go off on New Year’s Eve. The snowmen on the lampposts suddenly looked lonely, separated from their friend on the next post by several meters that we suddenly realised was there.
The days felt dark and as the calendar was flipped to January and the tree lights were turned off, it seemed to get darker still.
So, I am grateful that it is March and the days have gotten longer. It is almost spring; flowers have sprung up from the ground and trees are beginning to spring buds. I was able to spring from Aberdeenshire to Edinburgh and finally see the people and places I have missed. In the meadows the crocuses have bloomed, their purple heads bob gently in the breeze. The daffodils are beginning to peak out too, to contrast the crocuses soon with their frilly yellow hats and long slender green necks. The grass seems greener, after months of it being unable to grow.
The sun returned for a spell. It has now gone back to hiding behind the clouds, however, knowing that is there after having been away for so long is all that we need. It lit a smile on everyone’s face and lightened our moods. As the warm air it produces rises, so do our spirits.
I find myself becoming more flowery, brighter. No longer forced into dark colours and thick jackets I can match the meadows flowers to my trousers on my strolls. I have found my body again after months of it being bundled away under hats, gloves, scarves, and anoraks. I haven’t quite braved the just-the-t-shirt look yet (it is still Scotland) but the freedom to go out without being weighted under so much cloth is liberating.
I am grateful that it is almost spring. Spring is always a time of freedom and a time of renewal, but this year more than ever. After hibernating away in our homes, we are slowly allowed to be outdoors more and more. Children have returned to school and walking past them on their first day back I was imbued with their enthusiasm and excitement. There are events on the horizon once again to look forward to, tentative, but there. We have reasons to be optimistic again We had a winter of waiting, but like the spring flowers we are beginning to bloom once more.
Image: Lisa Rusalskaya