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.


  1. Sorry to hear you have been awake worrying, things always seem so much worse in the wee small hours but in the morning things seem more OK...lets hope that's the case for you.

  2. Lilting, lyrical words, worth being wide awake for.

  3. Hullo BB,

    Sorry to hear you have had a sleepless night.

    It does seem that its these times when the mind is at its clearest whether that's at its most receptive or at its most creative, either in solving the concern or in diversion, as seems to have happened here.

    Hope you have a good day and pleaseant dreams tonight.


  4. So sorry you have been kept awake by anger and worry..... and I do hope whatever it is sorts its self out very soon! I also want to apologise for not commenting the last day or so on your blog posts and just to say I have loved catching up with your blog and to thank you for taking part in the seven things we don't know about you... I loved reading your seven things!!
    I have yet again more sadness in my life as I received the news a couple of days ago that my darling Mums eldest sister, my favourite gorgeous Auntie has now passed away. She was a grand age (86) and enjoyed a very happy and adventuress life but she slipped over and broke her hip which they mended but then she had renal failure and passed away..... it was yet another sad blow for me and I needed time to come to terms with things... but getting back on track again. I just adore your photographs and the new header is delightful and a little taste of spring which I am sure we will all be very glad to see, its been a very long, cold winter!!
    Love, Jane xxx

  5. Aromatic - I am so sad to read about your aunty. We know folks don't last forever, but it''s a bit too close to losing your mum isn't it? You must feel knocked sideways. I'm glad you like the Primrose header. It cheered me up seeing them too though they are in a little microclimate dwn that hill and way ahead of any others round here. You don't need to apologise for not posting - I know how life has a habit of getting in the way!

    Al - when it comes to insomnia, you have the t-shirt I think! Yellow one that is, as pack leader : ) It did sharpen up my writing instincts though . . .

    Goosey - sadly in this case it is something that cannot be altered and has confirmed an initial gut reaction . . .

    Jinksy - I was in a very poetic mood this morning. Very Dylan Thomas . . . only with merely a tiny echo of his way with words.

  6. A small memory perhaps, but one that you have shared beautifully in words which give us the sense of the cold, the smells, tastes, sounds. I would have enjoyed knowing the little girl that you were.
    Insomnia is surely a curse--is it genetic? Maybe also genetic is the gift of unconsciously recording detail so that in those sleepless nights we can pull out a memory and shape the phrases that give it substance.

  7. Lovely crisp and I too have nibbled on some icicles this storm, and made a gin gimlet snowcone. Worry is always worse in the dark, I find that so and wish I slept better and felt rested and not restless when I awake.