Wednesday, 16 March 2016

the ineffable melancholy of the lock-keeper's garden in march

TS Eliot was wrong, it's not April we should fear. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, March is the cruellest month, a long steady slog towards sun you can rely on, evenings that won't become night by the time you've made it outside to look at them, light that will warm as well as shine, and end to the thinness and fragility of winter. Plants and insects, warmed by the sun, finger up into the light with the reckless rush of spring; only to be slapped down by sudden frosts, clammy mists and weeks where no sun shines at all.

At Iffley Lock

At the lock-keeper's garden in Iffley we paused to watch the gulls whirling over the rough water downstream of the weirs. The memorial photograph smiled faintly at us from among the daffodils, and all the buds were swelling on the pretty pink cherry tree. Later, spring might seems heartless around the memories of the dear and departed (Iffley is now a self service lock) but daffodils are such tenuous things  they seem the perfect reminders of impermanence and mortality. Today they are bright and upright; tomorrow they may be smashed flat in the mud by a late winter storm; and in a few weeks time they will be slumped, brown and attracting flies, and spring will be really here, but the daffodils will be gone.

At Iffley Lock At Iffley Lock

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