‘Ends’ is a word that keeps returning. It unravels every time. Whenever I think it sufficient it fails. There is more to be written, even after ends. Sometimes I mis-type it as ‘dens’. And then I rearrange the letters again. Dens! Delete, delete, delete, delete.
I may recollect that these weeks at the end of the year have been full of ends. And in that thought comes the prospect of the unknown future.
Ach, and who knows what’s going on, I asked myself as I tramped across the garden and spotted daffodil shoots already two inches high, even now, here.
She came back inside at three, just as the light had started to fade fast. Andy was boiling the kettle. She kicked off her boots and stood them on the mat, took off her gloves and placed them on the ledge.
No coat? You’ll catch cold, said Andy.
I’m in a sweat as it is.
I’ll take a water.
Andy shook his head. She looked nice in her work jeans and jumper, he always thought so.
How is it out there? The ragged garden of January?
Daffs are up, she replied. I think it’s Spring.
The rains of spring have lasted a year. I hear that in some areas now there are only showers, or perhaps someone said light drizzle. It was always too optimistic to think the rains were seasonal. It would take a decade of downpours to drench this scorched earth.
But the rains come and come: wave after wave of them across from what once might have been a horizon. Now it is just a fog of tears and smoke. And endless deep.
The wet blows through the broken windows, seeps into the khaki, runs down my chest, pouring even as we sleep.
There are people here, but not many. An old man sighs a joke as his grandchildren try to raise a kite into the still air. On the grey banks of mud a wiry bird stands still, too tired to prod for worms with its thin beak. Reeds have been blackened by the winter across the silent pools of the marsh. In the nearby woods, fragile, rusting leaves are broken from their branches by the merest gasp of air, their colour dulled in every moment that dusk creeps over the sodden ground. Birches have been felled and forgotten; ferns lifelessly splayed…
A barn owl crosses the fields, just here, every morning at seven o’ clock, at this time of year. And sometimes a deer jumps out from the hedgerow. Church towers can be seen every mile or so, through the bare trees, on towards the horizon and the cold, cold sea. We are on our way somewhere, between here and there, between last year and next, burying our heads in congregations and congratulations. But we laugh and sing while the real news continues. We daren’t look. News at this time of year is always a tragedy. The rutted earth is frozen.