I wake up each year on March 15th with a clear minded sense of relief. After the intensity of the final throes of the fishing season, comes the reality that I can’t go fishing even if I want to (I could, of course, but kid myself that the exile isn’t partly self-imposed).
Instead I can indulge myself in Spring. Fresh growth and regeneration, daily arrivals from the south and departures to the north. I can keep a tab on the local adders and grass snakes and look out for familiar faces (or scale patterns). Best of all, I can sit on the steps with Sue and a morning cup of tea as our shoulders slump to the increasing warmth of the sun.
It’s all a bit disjointed this year, though. The snowfall of early March has been followed by a second wallop – with drifts burying cars on the hill behind us and golden plover and lapwing succombing to hunger when they should be fattening themselves ready for a return home.
The rivers have been all out of sorts. Heavy with rain or snowmelt, but salted from the roads when back within their banks. The usual end of season running water flurry found me instead fishing still waters, and yet the final week saw myself, Chris and Matt all catch our biggest perch ever. (The fishing warrants more extensive description at some point – either here or elsewhere).
Meanwhile, the snow kept us bound at home with the fire lit and the kettle warm. We sat and watched the world come to us, birds driven by hunger and forced to abandon their usual wariness. The blackbird left his song in the ash tree to guard an apple on the ground, only to be usurped by a fieldfare who had no intention to share.
Among the house sparrows hopped a reed bunting – utterly fearless and almost lost beneath my welly as I laid down another bed of bird-seed.
My cup of tea in the spring sun was forgone for black coffee and a huddle up against the hearth, but as we pass the equinox, so the season becomes more insistant. The mistle thrush has started again, and the crows have resumed their daily harrassment of the local buzzards.
Hopefully winter won’t bite too deeply onto spring, but at least now I have the time to absorb the impact.