I know that the weather is unseasonably mild at the moment. Even the honey-bees have been flying, now that the light is changing and there are glimpses of sun; nor are they without hope of pollen, if not much nectar, as the gorse is flowering here, primulas are out and the snowdrops are swelling into white droplets of beauty amongst the new spears of grass. Three great skeins of geese flew over this morning, heading north-west in honking trails, suggestive of a spring to come. And, although the mud is still with us, the last few fine days have caused the worst of the surface water to drain away.
Yet the weather forecast says that it will get colder towards the end of the week, when we’ll probably feel that we’re in the grip of winter again. I know from bitter experience that it’s possible to be deluded by false hopes of an early spring; I fear that the primulas, snowdrops and geese are all beguiled by the writer of the natural world, who has penned a false conclusion to a story of darkness and destruction, tricking them into feeling that all is well, whilst the villainous winter has another few chapters of unexpected violence. We have still to get through February, which is, statistically speaking, the coldest month, and the one I always dread the most; good month for murders, February!
We take heart, however, that goodness will prevail and we search among the winter words for clues that the forces of warmth and light are gathering. The birch-tops are already turning their beautiful smoky purple as their buds swell and it will soon be January 21st, when the darkest two months of the year will be past.