The city hibernates in the harsh winter months. The trees, once a mystical green background against which the villas and spires shone, become a colourless brown, hiding the old-town buildings which nestle nervously into their winter sanctuary. Each distinct and unique dwelling becomes indiscernible, its edges smudged, its oft celebrated character blending into a dull and lifeless background.
The sky, the river and the pavements all compete to be the saddest hue of grey. The castle, usually the proud landmark standing out against the vibrant forest, is lost against a bleak backdrop, its usual majestic qualities erased by the barren trees and cold, dry earth.
Nothing is in bloom. Nothing is sprouting. There are no clues to what awaits us. February draws on and on, the shortest month lasting the longest time. Today, like yesterday, it’s impossible to imagine the contrast that can exist when the trees return to life or the peace that can come from bathing in the sunlight along the river back. There is no end to the grim and the grey.
The Blumenladen and supermarkets begin to stock daffodils and tulips as if to mock us in our hats and scarves. Not one bulb has dared poke its brave head out of the unforgiving ground. Not one bud has defied the winter or even hinted at the green and lusciousness to come. A life of hiding is still preferred; under the cover of cold and anaemic skies, spring remains tucked in, head under the blanket, not ready yet to shine.
It must be like this, of course. For who can appreciate the first signs of newness without witnessing the old hang out its desperate existence? The warmth can only exist in contrast to the cold. Light is but a filling of the dark. With patience, my dear, we must wait, finding beauty elsewhere and seeking pleasure from the now and not from the future.
Spring will come and with it new life. Patience will bring that life calmly into the world, when it is ready and not before. Excitement though, longing for this newness, must be forgiven as we look to the days ahead with an expectation of greatness. An expectation we nurture with caution, not truly knowing what awaits us, but wanting it anyway. Another spring to erase another winter. A brand new spring, unlike any that have gone before, to begin a new chapter.