At the edge of the lake I look over the reed beds. It’s a chill morning but a Spring chill not a Winter one; in the shadows it’s bitter cold; step out into the light, into the low light of this post dawn sun and it’s immediately warming. The reeds display the position of our orbit as well as anything, like back brushes sticking up, icy suds on one side, clean on the other. Funny how things come full circle. Man reclaimed land from the marsh, but today he digs out the gravel and re-floods the pits left. The reeds, in turn, object – pushing out again with slender roots; reclaiming the land from the water once more.
The first green stripes have appeared, verdant and plump, fluffed up like new pillows from the fizzing barber’s blades; rotary cutters in a cycle of snipping. Clipped edges, scraggily neat, on turf in truth to wet to cut, but it’s a signal all the same, a beacon, that Spring beckons like the first rays of morning light, optimism rising. There’s always one who breaks the seal of Winter first, pitching for a place as gardener of the year, eager to see that thick-pile carpet of grass, moss and daisies, one light, one dark, feathery foot marks following where gumboots amble behind. The real change though is in the air not on the ground. Gone, the crackling dry smells of sharp frosts, cracking wood under sheaves of leaf litter and curling morning mists. In, the rich smells like snapped daffodil stalks, of grass swards, their winter hair army-sheared, their sap freed to storm dark adenoids and wake up the green man within.