In the eight weeks since coming home this time, we have, essentially, been sick. Kindergarten has lovingly supplied a stream of bugs and viruses, many of which die Lüdde has effortlessly fended off as we have collapsed around her. Both kids swiftly picked up a nasty cold upon getting home – and colds here last for weeks, the snot an endless cascade – before gastro bounced off die Lüdde, gave der Lüdde a bit of a rough night, and took me out for four days straight. As we all began to feel, once more, in the bloom of full health, der Lüdde woke up with a fever and has been flat out all week. His gift, from his sickbed, was to infect his father. We have been a merry household, these past few weeks.
This morning, we awoke to snow, and not just a little dusting that melts as it lands, as we here in the north – pre this remarkable winter – are accustomed to; no, we awoke to total whiteness, laden branches, utterly confused birds and all the tough, green daffodil shoots covered. This winter is so reluctant to leave, and take with it the bugs and viruses and snot and wet boots. Its obstinance is no match for a usually plucky spring; bulbs are gamely pushing through, and some trees have the smallest of buds. But it’s entirely possible the Easter Bunny is going to have to hide his eggs in the snow, and the kids will be hunting in their snow suits.
Easter, for me, is associated with cold weather anyway. Chilly evenings, hot cross buns, Dad getting excited about using the fire again. For my whole life, autumn ushered Easter in, and the Bunny came as whatever deciduous trees we had in our garden turned, and the air began to smell a little like smoke. I don’t associate Easter with spring, with the advent of better weather, with pastels and florals and new life. There is a part of my brain that still gets terribly, albeit momentarily, confused at the change of seasons, and I think it always will. The warmth is Christmas, although I am paving over that association with the smell of glühwein and the sensation of cold fingers. In July, when summer is in full swing and life is easy and bright, I still get that residual, left over from childhood, frisson of Christmastime excitement. But that chill in the air as the leaves turn, that smell of woodsmoke as people are released from the summer fireban and allowed to light their bonfires out the back – that is Easter, and I cannot override it with pastels, the promise of spring, and coloured eggs hanging from naked branches.
I suppose there is a part of my brain that is, wherever I am, permanently upside down.