This time of year is the hardest, when the skies hardly ever seem to be anything but grey, and the drab dullness of wet woods and sodden fields is only occasionally lifted into life by the sudden brief appearance of the sun. I’d been yearning for colour so badly that it had become a real sensation of emptiness, like hunger or thirst.
It had been raining for days and I hadn’t been out for more than a few minutes at a time, so when I got to the park again after almost a week I was completely taken by surprise – carpets of colour; purple and lavender and white, flashes of bright emerald green, and the tiniest punctuation of yellow. There was even a moment or two when the sun came out from behind the clouds. I got down on my knees in the wet grass and pushed my face as close in amongst them as I could, and just looked, and took great long breaths of colour.
They are not yet as beautiful as they were last year, and perhaps they won’t be – perhaps that was the result of freezing temperatures that carried on well into March, so that they arrived late, in April, whereas this year the ground has been drenched with rain and stayed unfrozen for the entire winter. But the effect on me was the same, and always will be; it’s like coming across an oasis after travelling for months in a desert. I just have no words for how grateful I am. For those of you who are still in the grip of winter, may Spring come soon, and in the meantime I send you the blessing of crocuses.