23 February 2014
Signs of Spring in the Bluebell Woods
The blackthorn is in flower and the bluebell leaves are showing through. Leaves are budding, slowly and softly the green is creeping back. Catkins swing in the breeze. One drop of rain, two drops, then stillness again. The banks are slick with thick dark mud, and the ponds are without a single ripple to disturb the murky grey-green.
Rowan tells me that there are no unicorns in these woods, only fairies and pixies. She tells me that when she slept over at grandma's house, she looked out in the middle of the night and saw a fairy flying by her window. She said it looked at her and then flew off back to the woods. She skips and dances as she tells her stories, one memory or event merging into the next, like a robin's song of lilting enthusiasm at the world and everything in it.
Talia holds Ashleigh's hand for a while, before flinging herself at my knees and barring my way with raised arms. Muddy shoe prints on my grey dress. Sleepy weight of her in my arms as she rubs her eyes and dangles her dusty leaf-embellished mittens against my cheek. I kiss the curl at the nape of her neck, and a little further on try to distract her with drawing in the mud with a stick so that my arms can recover.
Rowan pokes a big branch into a swampy puddle and informs me laughingly that there are no alligators in there. Jenna and Morgan are up a tree, escaping from a minotaur. I gather handfuls of discarded hats and mittens. I holler back to them to remember to bring their coats and cardigans when they come to catch up, since all of their outerwear is now hanging in the bushes.
We meet up with my mum, and Talia flings her arms out in greeting to the dog. "Come me, come me Loo-shee!" The dampness in the air, and the brief glimpses of blue in the white-grey sky, foretell the coming blossoming of Spring.