Like small animals in hibernation, we in the village of Chittham seem to have been hiding ourselves away for endless months, peeking out over our snowy mufflers from time to time just to see if the worst has yet passed. But every day has brought more snow, more fog, more raw and biting winds, and we've curled up by the fire with a good book and resolved not to look out the window again.
Until today. Despite a keen breeze at daybreak that swirled low-lying fog in a wet dance through the trees, the house now feels distinctly warmer, the floorboards kinder to my feet. There is no condensation round the window frames to be mopped up, but the desire to fling the windows wide and let the new day inside. And now at midday, a determined sun is finally breaking through the clouds and probing the earth with a gentle finger, causing banks of snowdrops and hellebores to lift their heads in greeting.
I sit for a while by the stream, listening to its low trickle through the weeds and stones, my eyes closed, the sun playing with shadows on my face. The green smell of new shoots and wet earth, the dangle of a promise, plays in the air and I dare to think, maybe, this is it. I dare to think, at last, spring might just be around the corner.