February’s summer

February’s summer

I walked to Richmond Park this morning.  

Frost in the air as I closed the front door behind me; residue of grit on the bridge over the lock thawing the hint of ice. It’s winter still, at least overnight, and early enough when I set out that the chill of the night still rinsed the air. Gloves forgotten, hands in pockets. A winter’s dawn soon made way for spring this morning, its mellow details filled in with buds, bulbs and forthright camellias. Gardens full of promise basked in sunshine. When I returned two hours later, spring had been ousted and summer had muscled its way in – someone wearing sandals flippety-flopped behind me as I reached No 41 and put my key in the door. The seasons have clasped one another in a tight embrace these last few days. It’s disconcerting.

The walk reconnects me with the familiar, helps me negotiate homecoming after time away. That negotiation is fraught. Though it’s good to come home, part of me is reluctant to abandon the other me, the one that was away. Those weeks when life had a very different rhythm, linger in the mind.  Stepping outside the groove, shedding the routine, unhunching the shoulders, lengthening the stride – the perspective shifts.  Being away even for a week or two, let alone seven, seems to unsettle, to invoke resolutions to make changes when one returns. At least it does for me. I try to hold onto some of the quiet rhythms, the space that opens up for open spaces.

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