We all know that, as the year turns, Mother Nature’s palette of colours changes. But while we indecisive mortals might hum and haw about redecoration for weeks or months on end, visiting different shops, compiling mood boards, comparing colour swatches, holding fabrics alongside wallpaper samples, and trying out tester pots of paint, she just gets on and gets the job done.
Early last month, she still had the world decked out in vivid green.
Then, as October drew to a close, she chose muted gold tones for this early morning appearance.
A day or two after that photo, I managed to catch her trying out some colours behind the old church, perhaps thinking that no one would notice her experiments.
Soon after, she moved into pastel greys.
Indeed, today is so grey and monotone that I don’t fancy going out just to take a photo for the blog. Instead I shall focus on the tiny winter jasmine flower that peeped through the neighbour’s ivy to greet me when I came home from the market yesterday.
I’m not quite sure whether Mother Nature just missed a spot in her change to the evergreens and greys of winter, or whether yellow floral polka dots are an intentional counterpoint to the berry-bright detailing she usually manages at this time of year.
And now I’m thinking about bright spots that illuminate the daily grey, I really think I should post this poem, although it’s an old one. (It was published in 2009 in the South Bank Poetry Magazine and also included in my book Around the Corner from Hope Street.)
Nine o’clock in shades of grey
The sky, a solid lid on thoughts, constrains
and limits flights of fancy as I ride the bus
to work on Monday morning. I watch
through mud-spattered windows, jolted
past gravelled parks where leaden evergreens obtrude
from fog. In high-rise flats, once-snowy nets
are turned to slush behind dull glass. Stone walls
and pebble-dashing act as magnets to attract
the dust. Grey-skinned commuters wait
at greyer bus stops.
Outside the Town Hall,
laurel lollipops stand sentinel around
the corporation buildings, dull as salmon
caught in a bad still-life.
Inside, I know it smells of stale ash
and the cold-coffee paintwork of my office
flakes in silence.
Even my new business suit
is dark, sensible charcoal.
hidden from this colour-sapping world,
I sport a satin petticoat and panties
with pink roses. My step is light,
the half-smile ready
to blossom into song.