Monday, 2 February 2009

February Flowers

A DAY SUCH AS THIS ONE is all promises: The promise of warmth, of sunlight, of shoots breaking through the crusted soil, of spring's blooms and a withering heat on a summer's day. There is promise of picnics by the River, drives in the countryside and long lunches on the patios outside public houses and inns. Promises include exhausting walks along the beaches. Just another quarter hour. Just to those tidal pools. Cailean will enjoy a few minutes more. Just a very few more. I promise.

In my neighbourhood, the banked earth around the keep of Warkworth Castle must soon by covered in daffodils fit for a romantic poet. The cherry and plum and apple trees will be fragrant with blossoms, and then will be weighted down with fruit. Vines will rise and twine. Flowers will droop and drip; floral flames will attract moths and butterflies. There will be nuts and tight berries. Fruit will burst and blaze like phoenixes, attracting flies.

We shall be asked to cut back on our water usage, the reservoirs will run low. Foreigners (never ourselves) will smell less than fragrant in the heat. Shirts will come off and legs will be bared and naturally tanned. There will be concerts in the parks, and cricket games on the greens. Fishermen will sit for hours by the water, near weeping willows, while dragonflies dart back and forth across the infinity of summer, hurrying to breed in their allotted and most brief lifespan. Dandelions and thistles will cast off their seeds on fluffy parachutes.

All is promised: A new baby dribbling and great-grandfather in his deckchair with a bead of sweat on his forehead. Keep them out of the direct sunlight, Suzie.

All is promised: Church fĂȘtes and village galas. Vicars on a mission. A new set of bells.

Trips to the seaside, Welsh mountains and Aviemore. Donkey rides on the sands. Rowboats on the Serpentine. Slot machines on the best pier in Britain, wherever that might be. Rock festivals at Weston-Super-Mare and the Isle of Wight.

Newborn lambs and fattened lambs and lamb chops. Lettuces and tomatoes straight from the garden. Tea in the conservatory. Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe? I have both.

So much promise, one is quite overwhelmed.

And it is snowing this February afternoon over much of Great Britain. The roads are in chaos, the trains are not running, the Tube has ground to a halt, Heathrow has no flights until at least this evening.

I have a small wicker pot of golden narcissus bulbs and they've chosen to bloom this week. Their promise has been kept. The first, fresh, home grown flowers of the year. On the windowsill above the radiator, spring came early. Mine for just £4.50.

Outside the window, beyond the net curtains there's swirling snow. Great, big flakes this time, very wet. Here by the sea the snow doesn't lie long, it is soon slush. Inland is another matter. The Cheviots will be small Alps for a small season.

Yes, all is promised. The Poet: Miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go. The year is just beginning. One cannot sleep with promises to keep. Promises to keep.
How many miles?

Aren't we there yet, Mummy?


Ruth L.~ said...

I see this promise most of all in the winter sunlight which has become more golden, more insistent, more direct. Springs a comin,' but we aren't there yet. Like you, we have more snow coming.

Beautiful pot of daffodils there. I'm surprised to see that you haven't posed the handsome Cailean by the window.

suz said...

oh, what a lift reading this gave me! imbolc on monday was lovely, and could smell spring in the air. but today is coldcoldcold, and i needed a reminder that the narcissuses (narcissi?) are even now pushing at the crust, working their glorious golden way out.
hail spring!
:) khairete