Friday, 15 February 2013

Like something almost being said

I know I wrote a post last year about how Autumn was my absolute, no questions asked, favourite month.

But I think I lied.

I think Spring is my favourite month.

At least it is today. I don't love crunchy leaves and conkers any less, but I am super loving today.

The sun is shining, the air is fresh and dry, the sky is a brilliant, uninterrupted cobalt blue, the birds are tweeting and the daffodils are swaying in the breeze.

There are little green leaves shooting up promisingly in the garden. I can hear the sounds of people working outside without fear of being snowed on for once. And I have flung open all the windows to let it all in.

Now, I know it's not officially spring yet. In fact we've got another month to go before we get to that point. But I have officially declared it spring in our house..even the pale yellow Cath Kidston table cloth is out in place of the winter option so it must be true.

So autumn is my favourite month, but turns out spring is my even favouritest.

But then again, is it? Or will I get just as excited when I spot summer on the horizon?  Is it just that I love all the seasons, but it's actually the bit in between, as one merges into the other that I love the best?

Thinking about it, what I actually love is watching and noticing as the seasons change. Looking out for and then delighting in those tell tale signs that change is afoot. It's the constant flux and renewal, the cycle of the seasons passing.  I don't think it would be as fun or as special if one day we woke up and full blown spring was here in all it's technicolour glory. I think it's the anticipation as it steadily approaches bit by bit.

Or, I suppose, it's about awareness. About being mindful and savouring. And appreciating, being thankful (that it might actually stop being freezing and snowing every 5 seconds sometime soon...when it is summer and I'm fed up of being too hot I shall be wishing autumn would hurry up and arrive again).

I think it's about the promise of what's to come, and that what's just been is passing.

And I think it must be said that this particular promise is probably more true of spring than of any other season. New year always feels a bit like it's in the wrong place for me, like I'm never quite ready for it...maybe I'm Chinese really!?

The closing line of the Larkin poem, 'Trees',  about trees as they come into bud in spring, from where I have taken the title of this post, goes like this:

"Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."

And for me, that's quite a big relief. Begin afresh, afresh, afresh is precisely what's in order.

Spring, whatever you have in store for me; bring it on.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Agape Day

Last year I wrote a post about Valentine's day, about how Alex and I don't much go in for heart shaped stuff and overpriced meals crammed in too tight next to other couples. Instead we have always preferred to have a quite evening just the two of us at home.

Nothing's changed, but this year I've realised I've combined what I now know from positive psychology with our own little brand of romance.

Usually I would have spent quite a lot of time choosing a card, deciding what to have for dinner, finding a little gift etc.  All quite superficial things, that cost money. I suppose choosing the exact perfect thing showed I care, or that's what I thought.

This year, though, I thought to myself, what would he really like? And having spent the last few weeks living in what looks like a rather unpleasant bomb site while I prepare for my teaching interviews, surrounded by resources and books and notes, I immediately knew the answer. What Alex would really like is his house back. Neat and tidy. In order and not covered in children's books and smiley face labels.

So, instead of milling round the shops for hours trying to buy something that said I cared, I did something because I cared.  I spent 6 hours tidying and cleaning the house from top to bottom. I lit all the candles and I ran a bath. So that when he walked in, instead of being greeted by dust and muck and mess, he was greeted by a calming, relaxing and clear space in which to relax for the evening after a day at work. And then I cooked a simple turkey salad. Yum.

So, like last year there were no fancy restaurants, no cheesey meals, no heart shaped nonsense anywhere.  But there was true love.  The Greek Agape is often likened to caring about another's wellbeing, and that's exactly what fuelled me today. Agape.

And the apple crumble helped too :)