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  • Writer's pictureAmanda

Are we nearly there yet?

I can feel myself starting to come to life again at the end of February. I wake earlier and am more active later. I no longer need the prod of the alarm clock to alert me to the arrival of morning. And my ever-expectant dog, Rez, happily sees the return of his evening walkies.

This is undoubtedly due to the increasing light levels and the subtle-but-undeniable signs that spring is not far away.

Yet, like a lot of people I suspect, I find February a difficult and capricious month. It promises so much, yet delivers so little.

It’s a month of contrasts and contradictions where you can be happily pruning roses in a t-shirt one day, and then cutting back Cornus in driving hail the next.

It teases and tempts you to break the dormancy of winter, yet when you do it whips its icy fingers about your face and hastens you back to the fireside to contemplate your folly.

This is unkind. We need a break. By now we’ve depleted our winter energy reserves; our vitamin D levels are at critical; our skins itch from the rub of too many wooly jumpers, bitter drying winds and stuffy over-heated rooms. We’re done. We need sunlight and natural warmth. We need to stretch our limbs, breathe the air, feel the earth.

But not yet February says, not just yet.

And for me there’s another foe to battle – one that comes on in October kicking and hissing in denial, is vanquished, but then returns, stealth-like, to ambush my thoughts and trip my good intentions whenever my mind strays.

For the past four or five years I’ve put this February come-down to a job that frustrated my head and sapped my soul. The job is gone so I thought this year might be different, yet – for no discernible reason it seems – there it was again: a melancholy hopelessness; a nagging sense of failure and discontent; a propensity to think on the woes of the world and despair.

There is of course one fail-safe remedy for this unhelpful state of mind. And it lies in the potting shed and in the as-yet-unopened seed packets; in the comforting rich, sweet smell of compost, in the nodding heads of hellebore flowers and the song of a blackbird at dusk.

In every bud about to break and in every extra minute of daylight we gain, the gloom is shaken off.

March starts tomorrow. We’re through the worst. Life starts again.


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