Friday, February 18, 2011

Grey days

Time is standing still after a week when it seemed we were well set on the path to Spring. Despite snowdrops appearing and birds singing – my pair of Blackbirds are on their second family! – the cold winds have returned today with a vengence and it's once again time to sit indoors and garner warmth.

A virus and a chronic condition were making me already miserable when I turned a corner and found a favourite group of trees had been felled and a tiny piece of newly created 'urban green space' now resembled the Somme in World War One. Developers have moved in and since all around there are new student housing blocks, I expect more of the same.

It was here on this unremarkable corner that I last saw Julia Darling alive. I knew Julia but slightly yet she always stopped to talk, balancing on her small bicycle one foot on the pavement, somehow expressing in her smile a feeling of having been fulfilled in meeting by chance. We both noted the odd coincidence that we ran into each other only here at this crossroads, three times in a row.

I never pass by now without thinking of her, a great smile and cheerfulness which I learned remained until death itself. Such are the inconsequentials of our lives; a gate in a fence we cannot see beyond, a view of a distant spire of some unvisited building or a sunlit garden wall; a few trees beside a road.


Julia's grave is in Old Jesmond Cemetery not far from my home. Half hearted attempts to 'tidy up' this fine old place did not get very far thankfully.