It’s cold today, and I’m wearing a navy hat and pink, knitted gloves. It’s still early – half-past seven, and the sun is a formless glimmer between fat couches of cloud. Blue sky is promised for later, and the scything Easterly wind has relented.
Spring is pushing on. Among the hedgerows, the hawthorn has tiny green tips on its branches, and sprays of blackthorn have their tiny white flowers. Up close, they smell fleetingly sweet. Down by the nets are two clumps of red dead-nettle, which are much prettier than their name suggests. They are like little pink-flowered stingers, with soft, purplish leaves. From the nets you can see the bobbing heads of bright yellow daffodils, nodding as if agreeing with the echo of an umpire.
Mowing has started on the cricket field, and the whole outfield has now been done. The grass was so long, that now it looks like a June hay meadow, the grass cuttings sit in deep, regular ridges. The smell of the grass is delicious, but confusing: it makes you want to dig out your shorts, even as you’re pulling your bobble hat over your ears.
The dogs love the cuttings, and Pants does his silly bottoms-up nose-sliding through the ridges, rubbing his face on whatever revolting scents cling to the grass. Dora jumps each ridge like a show-boating pony, and turns to make sure I’m watching. As I walk, I keep my eyes on the ground, seeing what the mower’s revealed: rosettes of daisies, scalped moss, thousands upon thousands of worm casts. The new grass is very pale, almost white, and beneath the oaks, the empty acorn chalices have been chopped to blunted shards.
I suddenly remember it’s the start of the morning, and I’ve still got a child and husband to dispatch; breakfast things to clear, chickens to feed. I whistle the dogs and start towards home from the bottom of the field. Halfway up, my shambling jog turns to proper run, and I leap a few grass ridges, my arms flung wide, just because Spring is springing and because I can.