I went away for two weeks and when I came back the seasons had changed. The heath where I go to run before work, and retreat to during my break, has sprouted. Its trees and bushes and fields are verdant, bright. The grass pops green, clashes with the yellow of the rape flower. Every year those colours catch me by surprise. On a trail further north we topped out atop a peak and overlooked lush patchwork fields. For a brief moment, we could have believed it was summer already.
The winter encroaches slowly, insipidly. It drains the vibrancy of the countryside with careful deceit, such that you barely notice it going away until you are there in the middle of a cold, dark night and realise, with a hollow, existential dread:
Hang on, it’s 3pm.
When that colour returns it feels immediate.
It is a weight lifted to see those popping fields and drooping trees. And oh look little bunny rabbits my god oh they’re so cute I could-
-actually, that’s a line of thinking it’s best to avoid. With all this colour and light and life, there comes a cruel reality. Near my home rabbits make their burrows along the side of a long road, straight and sharp as a knife. It is a deadly place for small, snuffling mammals. Their casualty rate is high, and the evidence of the brutal nights is often there waiting for me on my morning run.
The crows complete the cycle as I glide by.
On more optimistic ground: the (so far incremental) temperature increase facilitates back garden exploration. I’ve always been sure there must have been some way to do some decent trail running straight from my door. I knew for a fact there was a system of bridleways and footpaths within a couple of miles of road, but a couple of miles becomes four or five on an out and back route. Emboldened by the green, and the dry ground, I ventured out the back door and into a quiet little wood, across an overgrown field, and found a different pathway to those trails. It has set my imagination alight. I’m now keenly envisaging long runs where I set my sights on some far off village or monument and attempt to get there from my house using as few roads as possible.
And isn’t that what Spring is all about? What is to come? Excitement? Anticipation?
It’s all in front of us, and it’s all so bloody green.