Spring: red, yellow, white or green?

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.

A ewe and her new lambs near West Witton, Wensleydale.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

25 thoughts on “Spring: red, yellow, white or green?”

  1. Sorry to hear you are unwell and you’ve a way to go yet. I enjoyed your piece, it made me feel warm. I remember being on Romney Marsh and coming across new born lambs struggling to take their first steps.

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  2. Poor you! I’m pleased to say we seem to have escaped the coughing virus – so far at least. It sounds like you’ve passed the halfway point, hopefully. I do like your seasonal piece – the creative juices were definitely flowing then, and will be again before long. Keep warm and get well soon 🙂


    1. Yet when I googled it I got an account of how it was ‘sweeping Cornwall’ – dated mid-February. Continue to evade it is my advice! Thanks for your good wishes.


  3. I enjoyed reading your wonderfully evocative writing! I’m so sorry you have the cough. I’m not sure if it’s the same one but I had a cough in the autumn that took weeks to go! I still can’t sing properly in church after all this time. Get better soon, Margaret.

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  4. Oh dear I hope you get better soon. Creativity is a delicate flower and easily crushed. I enjoyed your musings on red encapsulating the seasons so succinctly.

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  5. Good heavens–that cough sounds terrible! I guess the only good that comes from it is that we got the chance to read this writing–if you weren’t feeling poorly, you might not have bothered to share it, and I thought it was wonderful.


  6. Lovely piece of writing as usual Margaret. You have a great talent. Hope the cough disappears soon. I just wondered if you’d be going to London to watch Ellie in the Marathon.
    I just saw your comment on my FB post about our trip to Cartaxa. It was great to walk in the footsteps of my great, great, great grandad, who fought in the war against Napoleon. My half cousin Janis traced her family tree many years ago, and in doing so also traced my side of the family. We are the last 2 with the name Sousa.

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  7. Yes, we’re off to see the Marathon next week. Or at least I hope so. The doctor said yesterday to expect another 10 days of the virus. Every time I think I’m a bit better I go all shivery and have to go back to bed. Really fascinating, that family history of yours. I do hope you’ve written it all down somewhere. What a story!


  8. Aaah – I also realise that your cough is wahayyyy older and meaner than I thought! I had one of them right across the whole of Christmas Season – for weeks and endless weeks – but apart from really not being fit for singing and interrupting EVERYTHING with my coughs it came, stayed and went – eventually…. Good Luck!

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