Spring is here, despite the inclement weather. With it comes the endless dance – do I need a coat or sunblock or a balaclava? Is it too hot/ too cold to put the delicate seedling out in the garden, a sigh of relief as the dining table-come-potting bench is free of clutter if only for a few hours.

With the light nights I lose track of time, my normal early bedtime abandoned as I sit knitting only to wonder why I am worn thin and see it is half past nine.

The garden, only a weeks ago shades of olive and dun, now skips with light and green, the chlorophyll almost a taste on the wind. I weed the endless battle with the couch grass, some years winning a patch in a never-ending to war, nevertheless we persist.

The greatest pleasure of spring is the return of my freedom, the ground now just dry enough, and I would stress the just, I can venture from the paths in my wheelchair. A new puppy in tow only adding to the joy.

It has been a long and dark winter, my mood lingering too long in the darkness, – without a dog I have stayed home more than is good for me. Now, coming out into the light I feel myself returning, my energies rising to the scent of wild garlic and celandine.

Today was my first trip to the river. Like a sudden greeting of a long lost love, my heart ached with how much I had missed it. As light danced upon babbling eddies, tears sprung to my eyes, a shock at the intensity of my relief. My shoulders dropped, my heart, somehow walled up thought the winter, opened just a touch, the light and sounds of bird song filling me with joy, a smile cracking my tear stained face.

I must have looked like a nutter, sat there on the damp grass crying and laughing at the river. I cannot tell you how good it felt.

I am truly nourished by nature, by being outside, in a way that grows deeper and wilder as I age. It is this that I long for, this that fills my soul, even if my mind forgets.

I hate using the wheelchair. I hate the places I cannot go, I hate the lack of wildness, the lack of solitude, the lack of space. Being tied to the path contains me, the choke hold of winter, – the terrain too wet and rough. And yet the wheelchair is what gives me the freedom to be here. Without it, as I was reminded at a garden centre at the weekend, my legs giving up before i even made it to the door, I am stuck, trapped even further.

I nearly got stuck today, pausing to take a photo, my one wheel sunk deep, but like the self-rescuing queen that I am (no princesses here) I freed myself.

My favourite walk is long abandoned after an incident with a man, who offended by lack of desire to chat to him, ran off only to pause and wait for me to pass muttering ‘Stuck up fucking bitch!’ as I did so. The vulnerability of using a wheelchair, of being in the middle of nowhere, of being alone, has stayed with me. Despite my angry self-remonstrations that I should not be cowed, should not be scared, should not give in, I stay away.

The puppy is too young yet, to make that distance so instead we rediscover the river together, him for the first time, me as if greeting that beloved old friend. I wish I could bottle it, the light, the sounds, the soothing balm that softens up my hardened heart, to sustain me in the winter dark.

For now, I will drink deep, for spring is here and it is going to be a glorious summer.

2 thoughts on “A Spring in my step

  1. This is just too beautiful. I can truly see and feel the experience through your senses which will totally heighten my own.
    Thank you again for a wonderful Hafren forest walk the other day.

    Liked by 1 person

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