I’ve been hibernating.
It’s easy enough to do when the winter sun isn’t up until almost nine o’clock and on the wane again by half past three; some days barely there at all. A season of fires and blankets, good books and endless cups of tea.
And this year, the storms – Anna, Christina, Darwin – raising tides, bursting banks, felling trees, tearing buildings; huddle up and bunker down are the only rational responses.
But now it’s mid-February, the first day of Spring past, there is already a draw in the evening light and I’m resisting the idea of waking up, of stepping back out into the world.
As I sit here, with a cup of tea in hand, birds squabble in the garden; the tick of the kitchen clock is gentle but persuasive. I’ve banished other, brasher models for their harrying step, beating a military tattoo against the calm of the room, demanding obedience. Some things cannot be rushed.
It’s the same with writing. It’s such a joy, when I write something and see it come together, see it become a poem. But no matter how pleased I am with the result, I know it needs space and time to reach its full potential. It needs to hibernate.
The idea of writing something that is instantly and completely perfect is seductive but untrue and, in reality, not very helpful. I need to step away from the work for a time, in order to come back to it with a dispassionate mind, ready to see its faults as clearly as its virtues.
Isn’t it more reassuring to know we can take a piece of writing and create its shape, mould it through craft and hard work, than to sit around waiting for random thunderbolts?
As I write this, I realise the same is true of my comfortable hibernation; that this is just the necessary pause and growth will come again, in small steps, day by day, coaxing me into Spring.
* These are not my legs. Sadly.