The Windmill

The Windmill

Charis Fox

I’ve stared out of the window for the past three months. Some days I haven’t been able to see past the streaks of rain that stain the window like dried tears on cheeks. Other days, I’ve cradled my morning coffee and watched as green turns to brown, as the nights consume the days, and as the Sun weakens.

Nothing grows without the Sun. Our garden has become a graveyard. From my window I can see grey slabs leading to an infertile bed of sandy brown dirt. The ferns tendrils curl into the ground, no longer thick and lush. The olive tree, a wedding present, stands lifeless, propped up by soil and stones. The lavender that once attracted bees and butterflies is crisp and grey.

Amber evenings spent in the garden, enveloped in the perfume of jasmine, rosemary and lavender, are only memories.

Some days my gaze rests on the windmill that juts incongruously out of the dirt. A child’s whirly windmill. Its rainbow rosettes poke up above the brittle twigs of abandoned plants. It was supposed to bring joy and life. A splash of colour and a whirl of movement. But its faded petals remind me of a rundown seafront in winter and bring me only sadness. They, like I, seem to have succumbed to the muted, washed-out skies. It’s not clear whether it is us that have faded quietly, imperceptibly into the grey, or if the grey has seeped into us, draining our souls of colour.

I’ve stared out of the window for the past three months, as winter pervaded and overwhelmed our home. I’ve been so focused on what’s not there, I’ve been blind to the life that’s struggled on in the peripheries.

But today the Sun’s rays light up the garden and reach towards me through the window. The warmth can just about be felt on my skin. Tiny hairs prick up on my pale arms. Today I am able to see through the dirt-streaked window. The dawn glow shows me the rosemary bush that has stood stoically throughout the winter months. Through the glass, I can almost feel the softness of the lamb’s ear that has appeared without me noticing: the Sun transforms its grey leaves into silvery, soft fronds. Today I want to smell the rosemary, I want to feel the lamb’s ear.

Today, I go outside. The air is no longer frigid and I shed the heavy layers that I’ve grown accustomed to wearing. Green buds have appeared on the olive tree, a cluster of daffodils explode brightly from the planter of bulbs that I’d forgotten about. The cricket pitch nearby comes to life with the thrum of a lawnmower and the scent of freshly cut grass. The thwack of ball on bat as the players come out of hibernation signals the start of a new season. Of hope and anticipation.

I notice the dirt is no longer barren. Tender green shoots poke out defiantly: their fragility makes them seem even stronger. They’ve been waiting patiently for this moment. Having survived the long, dark months of winter, they’re ready to show themselves. Life even pushes up through the cracks in the grey slabs.

The warm spring air carries candyfloss blossom from next door’s tree and scatters it like confetti across our garden, celebrating the life that has laid dormant, but not dead.

The windmill is still faded but it spins and whirls in the shower of blossom.

Charis Fox