Sitting around, doing nothing in particular, kicking my heels while waiting for the appointed hour of a very happy wedding at lunch-time today, I flicked through the pages of The Easter Spirit, an anthology from the Little Gidding community. Diverse and eclectic in its choice of contents, the collection bursts with depth and richness. Looking out on a garden abundant with budding life, words from Susan Hill’s The Springtime of the Year caught the mood of the morning.
The weather had changed, it was like early spring, and even warm, as she walked the two miles up from the road in the late afternoon. There were aconites and celandines just pushing up through their green sheaths on the banks. Too early, Ben would say, the snow might come again yet, even in March or April. The woods and coppices were still leafless, branches open-meshed, or else pointing up, thin and dark against the blue-white sky; she could see all the way down between the wide-spaced beech trunks, to the fields below.
But there was something in the air, something, a new smell, the beginning of growth, and, as she walked, she had felt a great happiness spurt up within her, and the countryside looked beautiful, every detail, every leaf-vein and grass-blade was clear and sharp, it was as though she had been re-born into some new world. There was a change in the light, so that the dips and hollows of the valley that she could see between the gaps in the hedges, as the track climbed higher, up to the common, had changed their shapes, and the colours changed, too, the bracken was soft moss-green and the soil gold-tinged like tobacco. Yesterday, it had been dark as peat.
She wanted to sing. Because she had all she could ever want, the whole earth belonged to her, and in the end, seeing the cottage ahead, she had had to shake her head to clear it, she was giddy with this happiness.