Do you ever think that all that believing in Christmas is somehow a clever bit of short circuitry to believing that Spring will come again?
Every year, without fail, I have a lapse of faith. While Husband turns his attention to seed catalogues, I burrow under a pile of yarn, hooking stitches as though my life depended on them and muttering despondently, bah, that garden is too much work.
And every year, without fail, we make that sharp turn in our circumnavigation of the sun and, lo, here I am with my nose pressed against the kitchen window wondering when the rain might ease off so that I can go survey my plot of earth.
It was a funny old Christmas. Two people died. They weren’t people I was close to, or even knew well, no need for condolences, but the circumstances of both, young people leaving tiny children behind, were shocking, really shocking, and desperately, awfully sad. A woman said to me that it put all the Christmas ‘stress’ into perspective and I nodded but really I thought, no, it doesn’t. It makes no sense at all. None.
I’m a bore, a steady eddy. I put what must get done ahead of what could be fun. Teenage Son accuses me of constantly procrastinating with the ‘just one more job I have to do.’
I like to believe I am reliable. I work towards security. I don’t buy lottery cards. I’m not interested in gambling.
And yet, here I am stuck, with you and everyone else too, in this great big game of chance.
It was Ophelia who broke those poppy stems, all tipped over at what must have been a weak spot in their stems. I left them there because I admire their tenacity and because, even in decay, they are undeniably beautiful.
There’s very little left now of last year’s fruit. Only a few grim hangers-on, like these rose-hips, have withstood the persistent wet of an Irish winter.
Still and all, it has been another remarkably mild winter and there is probably more life in the garden than, by rights, there should be.
The perennial wallflowers are living up to their name, and then some.
And surely, there can be nothing in the world more reliable than daffodils.
And rhubarb too, seems like a safe bet.
And there are tiny buds on the Acers…
and bigger buds on the lilac…
and sticky, rosy buds on the Ribes.
And even where there is no sign of Spring, there are signs of life.
And there is reassurance in knowing, knowing because I can see it and knowing because I can rub my thumb against the strength of it, that there will be a rose here…
and a fig here…
and a bunch of blueberries here.
And I think I might say yes next time Teenage Son offers to teach me how to play the guitar. And I think I might venture out of my safety zone. And I might fail. And I think I might risk it.
And, and, and…
and it goes on.
Happy New Year.