Winter seems to have lingered far too long this year. Easter, the Christian celebration that normally marks the coming of Spring (and chocolate rabbits) has passed and gone and still the temperature remains resolutely low and days pass in rain, wind and hail.
As a result the winter flu bug has had a field day. Hospitals have been overwhelmed and family and friends have sniffed, coughed and shivered their way through recent weeks. I was not immune from this onslaught and even now my wife is struggling to shake off the worst of the symptoms, hopefully in time for our holiday which is planned to start this weekend.
Tired with being housebound I wrapped myself up warmly and set off for a winter walk around the village. Here and there daffodils were waving in the winter wind, and the purple, blue and white of snowdrops and crocus struggled up through the soggy turf. The hedgerows and trees were still largely bare of leaves and clouds scudded across a blustery sky.
I walked out to the village edge, stopping every few hundred yards to take in the landscape and as I did so, words for this week’s poem began to assemble themselves in my mind’s eye. I find walking alone in quiet solitude, splendidly spiritually restoring! I took a series of quick snapshots on my phone to anchor thoughts, interweaving them with sparing words of prayer and thankfulness.
At one point I encountered another lone walker headed in the opposite direction. He too stopped to photograph a tree where I had paused. We exchanged quiet words and he confided to me that he came to photograph this tree every week from the same spot on the road, which he was then assembling into a time diary of the year! We parted company after a few minutes mutually encouraged in our creative endeavours.
I had no route in mind so wandered where the moments led me, out beyond the houses, left down a sodden farm lane, curving back between high uncut hedges to the village centre, the church graveyard and clock-tower. High above me winter bird call, crows and jackdaws in the cooling light.
And home again, stamping my feet in the doorway; mud on the mat; hat and coat hung up; hot drink and settle to my keyboard, phone at my side with its gathered winter imagery.
Simple pleasures embraced and enjoyed. I feel truly blessed!
Ten thousand steps?
The front door closes
And the lingering chill of winter
Tightens my scarf.
Sky ice blue
As I pause at the road’s edge.
Left or right?
I choose the path that lies in light
And walk where He will lead.
Beyond the houses a quizzical llama
Woolly hatted, beady eyed,
Returns my startled camera’s glassy stare.
Hedgerows barbed with winter thorn
Clasp greedily the plastic water bottle
That never made the bin.
Tree bones climb skywards
Into the crow’s cold caw.
Clouds gather like battleships
As the sun’s tide wanes.
The road swings its long arc
Re-entering a secret way
To open where the children play oblivious
Of sentinels of stone
That mark life’s passing,
Where snowdrops thrust into the light
To console the dead.
Over all, the church stands silent
Save the chiming of the hours,
Five hundred years of marking time.
So home again
To cheese and bread
And dark Americano.
A mere eight thousand done.
My ninety minute’s solitude
Spent in His good company.
My guide to feet and eyes
My camera and pen.
© Martin Wild 2018