I’m up early on this Sunday morning and, as I write, I can look out at the red sky of the dawn. It’s fading a little now from a few minutes ago when I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea (Assam) before coming up to the interweb-machine, but now there is a delicate blue sky above the ruddy glow, with blue-grey clouds drifting in from the south, from left to right across my field of view. The village is in a glen surrounded by hills, which means that the actual sunrise and sunset can never be seen from here; they are rare delights which I usually only experience from the ferry to Islay.
The lighter mornings are the most obvious sign of the lengthening days and the renewal of the covenant between the earth and the seasons, but there have been many others to enjoy in the last few weeks.
Snowdrops are out in force, as this picture from a couple of weeks ago gives witness. Moles have been renovating their homes and fresh molehills have appeared in all suitable residential districts, which does not include the boulder clay and glacial deposits of The Grannary’s small patch of Eden. The drive down the road is now a switchback of toad-dodging after dark as they head down to the boggy bits between the lochs to consummate their seasonal passions – all you can see in the headlights are small white things that look like leaves, but aren’t. I was walking a week ago above Loch Fyne and found a frog on the summit of Beinn Ghlas, a small hill above Minard. Returning to the car, I found two goodly deposits of frogspawn in the ditch beside the track.
Although in Argyll in early March you can be sure that Winter hasn’t finished with you yet, these signs of Spring and the lengthening days are a welcome reminder that the auld bitch’s powers are at last on the wane.