To me winter is all about what is left. The past year we have been gifted a beautiful but misleading nature. With the north wind comes winter and she doesn't suffer fools gladly nor does she cover herself in soft illusions, although a quick stroll down any street will show you that humans have tried with tinsel wrapped around gates and 'stop here' signs crudely bashed into the bare aching earth.
I often hear people say they find this time of year depressing. In part I can understand that. The consumer life makes me feel a little black so instead of looking at what is left on the shelf lets look to what is left in our larder.
The crone land may be old but what she lacks in bounty she makes up for in her wisdom and stories of all that has been. A walk in the woods reveals all her secrets. Robins paint their chests and go to war on bare branches. With the hedgerows deadly disguise now withered you can see the impressive size of her thorns, such tormented beauty. Determined redwings and blackbirds flick papery leaves into the air, pulling worms from their frosty underground lives. Nests appear weaved into the trees exposed but somehow still there, still surviving.
Winters sights help me to put my world into perspective. It is like the garnish on a good soup. Overlooked and underused but add a bit of spice and suddenly the wholesome soup becomes a feast.
I feel deeply that to enjoy the months that will come we need to embrace the present (and not the wrapped up kind) What Oliver didn't realise when he was staring at his empty bowl is that a bowl can be filled. What you choose to fill it with is your business but I think I will ladle in some soft spring, a soporific summer, an abundant autumn and for good measure a garnish of wild winter.