I’m now on Day Nine of The Great British Coughing Virus, and as you may be unlucky enough to know, it ain’t fun. I’ve done nothing worth writing about, and my creativity quotient is at an all-time-low. Instead, I thought I’d share with you the piece I wrote for my U3A Writing Group the other week, following the prompt ‘red’.
Spring: Red, yellow, white or green?
Spring is not red. Spring is white, as the late snowdrops poke their heads above the frosty soil. It’s yellow with primroses, daffodils and aconites: and later, laburnum and dandelions. It’s fresh citrus green, with young tender grass and unfurling leaves.
Summer is red. Summer is scarlet strawberries, velvet raspberries and glossy cherries. It’s poppies among fields of wheat. It’s glowing noses and peeling shoulders on a crowded beach. It’s roses and nasturtiums and salvia and geranium vying for space in the summer flower bed.
Autumn is red. In autumn, leaves drop from the trees, turning from green to yellow and then to russet red as they reach the ground. Crab apples glow on trees, and foragers like me gather them, and tumble them into a pan to simmer with sugar and spices to make a translucent ruby jelly for spreading on toast through the bleak winter months.
Winter is red. Bright berries poke out from beneath the sleek green leaves of the holly. Vermilion rose hips stand starkly on black branches, cheerfully transforming barren twigs and colouring the winter landscape. There’s little Robin Redbreast, perching on a scarlet pillar box, and all those gaudy Christmas decorations.
Spring is not red. Or at least I didn’t think so, not until last week. Here’s what I found on a walk across a Daleside farmland: a ewe, with two only-just-born lambs. Her babies were stained bright red with her blood, as she licked them clean. Spring that day was a Red Letter Day, celebrating new life.