January dawns with the promise a new year brings; 365 new days, 365 new chances. Sometimes we jump in and take a chance, sometimes chances jump out and take us.
February, lighter in days but darker in mood, carries the weight of expectation on hunched shoulders. Country-wise elders rub gnarled hands and mutter “February fill dyke,” as water rises in the ditches. Every drain overflows, every inch of rain-sodden ground is mush, every waterproof coat succumbs to its leaky seams.
Then, like a dominatrix at a soggy party the Polar Queen gatecrashes from the East.
Wearing a coat that could freeze hell, she watches as water turns to ice, the country skids to halt, and her March escort roars his arrival like a banshee. In like a lion and out like a lamb, his vortex rises, and as primroses show their faces beneath sheltered hedges, his vortex falls. With a last breath he passes the baton to April.
April: traditionally the harbinger of hopeful spring. Hope is drowned by incessant showers. Pleasure is washed aside until the sight of Easter eggs, yellow daffodils and matching chicks brings wry smiles to chapped lips. Yellow is the brightest colour the human eye is able to see. It’s the colour of sunshine and happiness. It’s also the colour of caution.
May carries blossom scent on the breeze; tiny pink and white flowers smother newly leafed trees in a fleeting embrace. Bluebells nod their heads and nesting birds sing with joy. Everything sighs. Everything looks upward.
June. Oh June. June and July walk hand-in-hand under endless blue sky and sunshine. We eat outdoors, we linger in the sheer deliciousness of life. And as we fan our faces with the backs of our hands, we complain about the heat.
Slightly frayed at the edges, August gets blamed for sunshine fatigue. August cannot do right for doing wrong. It treads the fine line twixt summer and autumn like a child-woman, not yet one but no longer the other. Who’d be August?
September. Indian summer. We hang on to the word summer because we dare not think beyond that. In traditional Chinese medicine this is the season called Late Summer, the transition from yin to yang. A time to reflect, bring in the harvest of the year so far. Celebrate yet remember. A time when the pendulum reverses its swing.
October’s crispy leaves; the orange red yellow and gold of autumn. The forward march of time as clocks and day lengths change. All change, summer has reached the terminus. Everyone disembarks. The fast train to winter arrives at the station.
November is the new month, greyer is the new grey. We look inwards for warmth and find none. Cats don’t leave the hearth. Bed is snugly in the morning gloom, tempting us to stay a little longer, tempting us like a selfish lover. We are weak and succumb to just five more minutes.
December and the bitter-sweetness of Christmas. Half-heartedly we buy gifts for loved ones, thinking we have all the time in the world. Then we realise we haven’t and the panic rises to crescendo pitch. Turkey fills the shopping trolley, sweet mince pies fill the oven. Love for the season may or may not fill our heart.
And then the year begins again, like it has done for time eternal. As we breathe in and out the days pass to weeks and the weeks to months. The years have seen it all, been it all. When our present crises are blurred paragraphs in a history book, the years will still be rolling by. Presidents, viruses, parliamentary mayhem, come what may.