signs and portents

Spring blossom

There’s hazy sunshine this morning and I suspect that when I finally get ready and go out it will feel like spring.

I’m pretty sure, though, that the blossoms I photographed in full sunshine at lunchtime a couple of days ago will have been battered to a pulp by storms by now.

Even today, if I diddle around too long, fussing about what to wear and writing the blog etc., it’s quite possible that the weather will have changed completely and it will be bucketing down with rain and blowing a force ten gale.

We Brits are famed for talking about the weather. Personally, I think that’s probably because we have rather more of it here than they do in many places and yet it remains relatively tame – there are seldom tidal wave, hurricanes or extreme temperatures – so it usually isn’t too scary a subject.

We’re also eager to identify the first signs of the changing seasons – when the snowdrops appear, when the daffodil buds first show colour, when we hear the cuckoo, when the woods flood with bluebells…

But although we’re keen to persuade ourselves that the days are lengthening and that spring is here, we also comment when the leaves begin to turn colour in the autumn, when the hedgerows are dotted with hips and haws, blackberries and sloes… and the first snow of the season is always a talking point.

We seem to want to rush on with the year and not pause to enjoy any one thing for very long. We tend to focus on the first of each thing, and then act as if that’s all done and dusted and never bother to notice them again.

That said, well over a month after I saw the first snowdrops, they are still in flower in the park – though past their best now, and the great splash of crocuses that was showing colour in time for Valentine’s is even more gloriously joyful now.

field of crocuses

Of course it isn’t only the British who talk about the weather and look for signs of spring. This is an old poem written when I lived in rural Spain.

Signs and portents

This morning, green quilted anoraks and cap
are “de rigueur” (though scarves are optional)

among the old men walking ahead of me along
the flat road that leads away from town. Some

brandish canes and jab at signs of spring. Buds

nipple branches, and a single scouting swallow

slices the blue. Where the road rises, surging

past the polideportivo, they turn,

content at the season’s turn. I pass them there,

continue on, to where violets line the bridle path.

At my gate, a hallelujah crown of crocuses

awaits beyond the nibbling reach

of lop-eared lambs and a pulsing lizard

warms his wintered blood, then twitches

out of sight.


Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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