My year never begins in January, remembered as the month in which my father died. This January my eldest sister Annabelle passed away too. Noel's half brother also passed on the same day.
Annabelle was 17 when I was born, very pretty and she wore such lovley clothes! Clothes were elegant in the late fifties. I just about remember her wedding or at least my mother trying to keep me from disrupting it too much. I was only 3 after all! She was a very supportive big sister and on many occasions more of a mother figure to us 3 youngest siblings.
My Grandmother died 45 yrs ago on 11th Feb. I know this because I had just left Ballymena to take my first teaching post in Cardiff when I received the news. In the photo you can just see Margaret, the bridesmaid and Esme was the little flower girl.
I didn't think of it as a great adventure. I was terrified really! Never lived in a city before! But I met up with Noel and we had our first date later that month and we never looked back. February is a welcome friend. It brings with it snowdrops and crocuses, if we are lucky, even daffs, and it's light until 5pm. I greet it with a smile of relief. It's not that Winter is over but it is beginning to be over. The yellow jasmine that has been in bloom since November, is now losing it's flowers and the nithering north winds pull at them, as if to set them free.
February always feels like being set free. The sun just about warms our bones. So as I remember my sister, I'll heed the warmth and feel thankful and hopeful and share with you this little poem which really wrote itself from observation, (those are mostly the best poems!!!) and is therefore one of my favourites.
In February 1992 we made the first move towards living in Northumberland. I did regard that as an adventure!
February is a time of new starts and who knows, after the covid doldrums of the past couple of years, maybe I can once more catch the wind.
Catching the Wind
Dainty, yellow jasmine flower,
tiny fairy skirt,
twisting in the twilight air,
quite the little flirt.
Toying are you with the dark;
finished with the day?
Darting this way, flutt’ring that;
can’t you get away?
Star-struck in the gloom of dusk;
I see how you’re pinned;
Caught there on a spider-line,
a lure to catch the wind.
First published by The Shine Journal 2007
Subsequently published in The Linnet’s Wings