Overnight rain has washed most of the snow away, and suddenly we have colour again. Everything has been monochrome for some time, but now we can see the world that was hidden.
Before the snow came, we took the world for granted. It was just there, and all those colours just merged into a general muddy greenness. When the snow came, it was like a magic cloth thrown over a tray of objects. Now you see them, now you don’t.
When the world of colour is hidden in this way, I forget what it looks like. I become skilled in the deciphering of whiteness and shadow. But when the magic cloth is lifted, there it all is – the bright greens and the fragile yellows.
In the hedge, alongside the railway, there are catkins in the hazel. I’m sure they weren’t there yesterday, but I suppose I’ve been keeping my head down so as to avoid slipping. Amazingly, they are the first signs of a spring that hides far away but is shyly moving towards us.
Near the river, I find new, bright primroses, not in flower – it’s far too early for that – but new leaf growth that has forced itself through the hard soil, it seems, all crumpled beneath the snow blanket.
And the green is so bright!
All the birds are busy, making the most of the thaw. All round me are contact calls of foraging blue tits, great tits and coal tits. Little groups of goldfinches pass through, noisily chattering as they eat. The name for a group of goldfinches is a “charm”. How beautiful is that? A charm of goldfinches.
The birds know the winter has not gone with the snow, and snow will come again before spring, so they are obsessed by finding food at the moment. Sex will have to wait till mere survival is assured.
When I get home, I check out my photos on the computer. It makes me so happy that I can see and hear these things. My blindness constricts my world, but on my walks in the woods I can still see bits of the picture, in a blurry kind of way, and the bits I do see throb with life and meaning more than they did when I could see.
Being able to see just enables you to pass by more quickly and miss the wonders at your feet.