The force for change in a bulb is immense and unstoppable. Only two weeks ago I posted a photograph of this little pot of hyacinths in their stubby green-shooted infancy. Ten days later they were bursting into life and beauty, and today they look like this:
What you can't see is the scent, the pure white, heady and elegant perfume that wafts around the house when it is warm, and is held close and tight to itself when the rooms cool down for the night.
When I was an art student I filled a sketchbook with drawings of tulip and hyacinth bulbs from their tiny first shoots to their final blowsy browning overblown fullness. There is something powerfully optimistic about bulbs and their wilful desire to grow towards the light and then bloom, fully themselves, knowing that this is their moment.
It's three years since I started writing a list of five happy things every day, a sort of gratitude journal, a sort of diary, a sort of storytelling. It's become the thing I do every day, the thing I refer to if I'm unsure when something happened, the thing I laugh about to myself at how many times tea-drinking is mentioned, the thing that centres me and lets me know I'm alive. Today I've reached 1001 lists, all of them telling their own story and all of them part of the whole.
I also bought some white hyacinths and potted them up with hazel twigs, ivy leaves and moss. I also had dinner with my son and watched the jackdaws flying over to their roost and started to read my new Tessa Newcomb book. It was a good day.
You can read about how I started my Five Things lists here. If you like, you can have a look at them all here.
An old leaf is just as inviting as a new leaf I can't help feeling, and an old leaf is what I feel like after the ravages of 2012, which was probably just about as bad as a year ever was.
But an old leaf is fine, and after a few weeks of lying on the ground, nestling into the soil, being blown about, and being frozen solid so that all its veins, edges and naked structure are revealed, an old leaf can become very beautiful and very much part of the cycle of things.
Lots of things changed last year, and lots of things will change this year. I'm planning to make sure that many more of this year's changes are positive ones, and I hope to begin by being present on these pages a little more.