The dreamy time, on the way from darkness to light. With most of the night behind us, it is not morning quite yet. It is early enough to roll over and sleep on and yet it is late enough to get up and face the day. I am undecided. A part of me refuses to leave the darkness. The direction is clear, the speed of travel is not. Sometimes I feel like the days are getting longer too fast, the spring is practically hurtling at us. Especially with the tepid winter we’ve had and my personal loss, it has been very difficult to get grounded, rooted and rested. I am not quite ready for the forceful pull of all this new life. I want to burrow in the darkness and burn candles. Other days, though, I am happy to get out of the office and not have to switch on my bike lights and sometimes even enjoy the last rays of sun as I cycle home.
My thoughts and moods are divided, too, and so is my writing. I want to write an obituary for our ivy, a very old and beautiful, lush vine which grew on the neighbours’ wall and which died unexpectedly and completely in late summer, just as my mother got sick. The ivy provided shelter, year after year, to the blackbirds and doves who reared their young in its dense glossy foliage. Those mornings spent fighting neighbours’ cats with plastic water guns to save the fledglings will forever stay in our family’s lore. Now the ivy’s last browned leaves are shed and blown away by February winds, the bird nests exposed, bare and barren, a shelter no more. The neighbours must have poisoned the plant when we were away in the summer; they had complained of the damage to their wall and unfortunately it’s that kind of relationship we have. Morbid thinking and conspiracy theory, my husband says. But any other explanation of the verdant vine’s sudden demise is too uncanny.
The garden is in mourning for the ivy and I cannot bring myself to strip it all down. It can wait, it is too early in the morning. For now, this:
I am ivy, a real high-flyer.
Via bark and stone I scale tree and spire.
You call me ground cover; I say sky-wire.
From The Lost Words, by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris – a truly enchanting “book of spells”, “that might just, by the old, strong magic of being spoken aloud, unfold dreams and songs, and summon lost words back into the mouth and the mind’s eye”.
But then again, I also think about taking inventory and making plans for the allotment and about putting in an order of vegetable seeds. I did not feel I would be able to do it this year, so the seed order takes on the significance of a major milestone.
This morning is bright and still, sandwiched between the storms. With Ciara finally exhausted and Dennis on its way, we get a short reprieve from the Nature’s outbursts. And so, I choose for the seeds. What is it going to be this year? The ambition is modest, what with our full-time jobs, kids and general energy levels. But we can let ourselves dream big for now, it’s that time of the year. We won’t need to start planting the seeds for a good couple of weeks still. There is now a storm ahead of us, and a very, very wintry trip to the North. As storm Dennis hits our coast this weekend, there is still time to snooze and savour the candle light. ��͘�