Friday, 12 February 2010
Eating icicles . . .
Sometimes when I wake in the inky stillnesses of the moonless night, I lie awake and worry. Last night I lay awake and was angry. I dare say the cause of my anger will not alter the fate of nations, but on a personal level it has caused an uneasy ring of ripples to spread out from a stone thrown in a stream of thoughts.
I tossed and turned, knowing sleep had fled. Now as I sit here, waiting for the first frail note of birdsong, the slightest diminution of black into grey in the sky, I am suddenly ambushed by thoughts of other winters, long ago. Retreating into childhood is always comforting. No-one can reach you there.
I was suddenly transported back to an icy winter day when it had thawed and then frozen again, and the pussy willow trees near the valley stream had no thought of putting out pussy paws for weeks yet and instead had their latent branches bedecked with icicles. They were too tempting not to eat and, head on one side, I nibbled and crunched my way through some. Even in winter, the tang of Sweetgale hung on the air as I ran my fingers through a bush and then nipped off a sprig to crush in my hand. The peaty soil was hard and frozen beneath my feet; tussocks of Couch grass stood to attention; a small puddle of water had frozen into widening echoes; a Blackbird chinked a warning from a streamside Alder as a cat slipped through the rushes, dark as holly leaves, and the broken stubs of Purple Loosestrife wands. A small memory frozen in time.