A March day by the riverside

Early March and the first hint of spring is in the air. On a day of blue sky and mild breezes, I walked the riverside path to Bethlehem, the abbey's grange near Yagleah. Another world, beneath the water and upside down, rippled in the current.

I reached the old fishing place near the Sheep Brook and stood for a while. The winter floods had pulled some of the timbers down into that world below the water.

The Sheep Brook has recently been cleared of the flood detritus that has clogged its course this winter. The banks are free of  dead weeds and scrub, and the bare earth will be green and lush again by midsummer. Brother John says the waters of the brook are the colour of wild magic. When I look down into their depths, I think I understand what he means.

Bethlehem grange farm is still bare and bleak after the long, cold months of winter, but here and there are touches of early spring. Clumps of Candlemas Bells brighten Broken Heart Spinney and grow against the wall of the hay barn.

As dusk settled, I made my way home. The fragile touches of spring were lost in the cold March evening and winter trailed its cloak of frost across the meadows beside the track once more.

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