I went on a chilly walk a few weeks ago, and snapped some of the pathways and lanes I spotted. I was going to upload them into a pointless post, just because I like them. But looking at them again reminds me of how I was feeling when I took them: a bit lost, a bit low, with no path or purpose ahead of me. Life doesn’t come with anything so helpful as a nice yellow-bricked route, mapped out ahead of us. Thank goodness.
Just as we’re all getting excited about making it to the end of January, the gods of winter wake up from their New Year nap. With a stretch and a flex of their muscles, they breath in deeply and the mercury drops: down, down, down. And then they exhale, and let loose their bone-chilling breath into the land.
This morning the grass was dusted with snow, and the air tasted sharp and clean like a gulp of ice water.
The thing about winter is it’s too easy to spend ages indoors. If you’ve got a wi-fi connection and an electric blanket you needn’t leave the house for days. For me, Procrastinator Extraordinaire, the house is a minefield of displacement activities, and if I’m not vigilant hours will pass where I haven’t managed to focus on a single thing and I start feeling dopey and dull. The thorns start curling up around my mind, and I find myself coming to a standstill in front of a window, gazing outside at the fields, like a caged cat. Birdsong comes through the glass in muted peeps, and I just stand and watch the portly progress of a pigeon across the lawn, or a sheep hauling itself heavily up from the ground.
I had no idea, until I heard it on the radio this morning, that today was National Poetry Day. I feel a slight, totally irrational sense of indignation that no one told me, and that I was thus unprepared to take full advantage of it. I don’t exactly know how I would take advantage of it… Perhaps by spending the day speaking exclusively in verse. Instead, and fortunately for my fellow humans, I jumped onto Twitter. Where I noticed with a happy sigh that #nationalpoetryday was trending, and that there were links, quotes, poems, podcasts and articles being flung around like nobody’s business. With the internet some days you really have to dig to find the good stuff, but some days its all just there for the taking. I chipped in with my two-pence worth, topped up my online reading list and then, because this is Twitter, somehow ended up on Pinterest via an article about Amal Alamuddin’s wedding dress (sigh).
I hauled myself offline and started flicking through my little collection of poetry books. Here it is, in all its eclectic, alphabetised, poorly photographed glory:
It’s Friday! In honour of the weekend, I give you my current jam: Ingrid Michaelson’s ‘Girls Chase Boys’. I guarantee that if you play this within a mile radius of me I WILL start dancing. So if you’re staying in, whack this on loud and HEY PRESTO, party for one.
Check out the video below – it is a bit weird (it’s a copy of this one, from the eighties). If you’ve ever wondered what ‘confused alarm’ looks like, show this to a heterosexual male:
I thought I’d squeeze this post in before September got its toe in the door, but you know… Sunday evenings. They disappear faster than any evening in the week. And when I woke up this morning, another August had quietly let itself out. So first, here’s to August. To bare legs, cream teas and bicycle rides. Also falcons.