The evening sky was awash with grey and white waves that I knew would never crash to shore. Instead they remained aloft to tease and cajole me like meringue spread on top of a pie, expertly etched by a palette knife. The sky teased my senses. Caused me to stop and ponder on the beauty of nature. How we can lose ourselves in something where no admission price is required.
It was almost seven o'clock. There was bossa nova on the stereo. A Saturday escape. Corn bread cooled on the counter top like golden sunshine hot out of the oven, sprinkled with jalapenos, cheeky, hot, exotic. A reminder of New Mexico. There was a bottle of wine too. A fairly decent rioja that breathed a touch of lost sunshine into the room. Two dogs spread themselves on the floor like old carpets folded up for the evening. Still, they eyed me with their canine diligence. Nothing I did went amiss.
February day. Out into a mild garden and clothes on the clothes line for the first time in months and a warmth coming up from the south. My old neighbour up a tree, pruning. New buds. A daffodil appears. I walk to the gate, wave to passersby. I sweep the debris. All the activity that the Winter has forbidden me has suddenly thrust me a fresh ticket to participate. To address what is important, what I have lost. I root away at the dead stalks. They come out easily like wet slivers in my hand and I pile everything into stacks of rot. I brush away the pine needles from the small patio at the back of the garden and the stone breathes again. I pull at the rotten mint and know that by June it will thrive in growth.
Our talk is full of raised beds on stilts and what to plant. I want so much lettuce that H laughs and shakes his head. I want to grow, I say. I want to throw myself into the soil, dig in until my nails pile up with grit. I want to come back into the house windblown and rosy cheeked and dirty from head to toe.
And so we dream on about the days to come. We never forget the past days either. The ones where we had to hunker down. Close the blinds. Retreat into ourselves and face ourselves. Because that's what the dark days do. They challenge. Call you to speak up for yourself. Make you to have to believe that there will be a day like this to come along. A day when you go outside again, before the grey waves form in the sky and you walk to the clothes line and you pick the socks and the towels off the line and they smell of something sweet. Not cinnamon - not sugar - but something else like promise, hope, belief, bloody hell, they smell of wild air mingled with new growth.