They say it's going to rain today. Finally. For the first time since Thanksgiving Day almost two months ago. And so I decided to get my little bit of necessary gardening done first, before writing.
Some real gardening - pruning and moving some roses, taking some pelargonium cuttings and putting the parent pelargoniums in the open ground. The cuttings are insurance: I still don't really believe in the concept of overwintering pelargoniums outside. I've got some cheat gardening to do too: potting up the primroses and daffs I bought at the garden centre.
Anyway, when my hands were nipping, covered with cold mud, I suddenly found myself saying what I always used to find myself saying, gardening in winter in Galloway. "Oh, I am stone thumbs, feet of glass", a line from one of my favourite poems: "Pruning in Frost" by Alice Oswald from The Thing in the Gap-stone Stile. (OUP,1996).
A wave of pure happiness broke over me. Here - let me slosh some of it over you:
Pruning in Frost
Last night, without a sound,
a ghost of a world lay down on a world,
trees like dreamwrecks
coralled with increments of frost.
and wound and wound
the clock-spring cobwebs.
All life's ribbon frozen mid-fling.
Oh I am
feet of glass.
Work knocks in me the winter's nail.
I can imagine
Pain, turned heron,
could fly off in a creak of wings.
And I'd be staring, like one of those
cold-holy and granite kings
getting carved into this effigy of orchard.
And the reasons the roses are moving? The flower bed where I planted them last spring is making way for a fruit orchard. Maybe one day next winter, I'll have trees like dreamwrecks, coralled with increments of frost. But for now . . .