By Alice Ahearn*
Dark mornings, skeletal trees, damp chilly commutes. Winter really doesn’t have much going for it, and by last week it seemed to have been going on forever. But during this week, all of a sudden, clues have started appearing: a green shoot here, a flower bud there. I’ve seen my first snowdrop. I didn’t go back for my gloves this morning. The sun is peering further above the horizon. It’s still a little tentative, but spring is definitely well on the way.
When the nights are at their longest and the wind and rain just don’t seem to stop, it can be hard to remember or even imagine the world looking any other way – sunnier, brighter, more alive. Everything seems too dark and dead for it ever to be able to bloom again. The boy in Alive Again has all these worries, not just that all the best things have been destroyed by the winter, but that even the very words for them have ceased to exist, so that they can’t be thought of or remembered. Even now, when the first signs of spring have established themselves, the new green shoots and buds seem so fragile and vulnerable that just one late frost could surely mean that spring is cancelled.
But it isn’t too long before the boy is reminded, as we all are, that the sun always comes out eventually. Not always for very long, it’s true – April showers are rarely just confined to April, after all – but green shoots and flower buds are resilient and determined, and the seasons keep on changing. It may have looked like the winter wasn’t going anywhere, but for all the uncertainty in other areas of our lives, I think our doubts on this score can be put to rest: nature is steadily coming back to life, and we can be a little more cheerful for it.
*Alice is now an editor and bookseller. She used to be an intern at Tiny Owl Publishing
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