The March Moon, Cold Comfort and Being Astonished by the World

This week, I have found myself reflecting on the changing seasons as winter slowly turns to spring, and then back again, in the game of back and forth that so often characterises March in Caithness. Here and there, primroses peek out in cheerful colours, while on verges, daffodils open up like yellow, honeyed eyes. In the garden, snowdrops wane, slumped over, defeated by storms that seem to punctuate every season. A bright sun looms and fades again. I follow the coast on dog walks: the sea rages and then stills.


In many ways, I find the path of my own moods reflected in the landscape. Some days bright, some gathering clouds to assemble overhead. Some nights bring sleep, some bring restless thoughts and weary alarm calls. The days that follow are a mirror; energised or bleary. One day I am the bursting daffodil, one day I am the waning winter flower.

This week, I returned to the sea, and the cold water. The few minutes of connection with other females brought energy, while the freezing salt water clarified and soothed. I returned to dry land, feeling like the selkie who shed her skin to walk around the world a while. My steps were lighter, the sun loomed again, I slept that night. I woke up to daffodils.

For a while at least, I did not see the slumping flowers.

Caithness Coastline

I read this week – in Johann Hari’s Lost Connections about a world that pulls us away from who we are, who we were meant to be. The anxiety and sadness that hovers over us; a society that favours the external over the internal at every turn. A lack of meaningful connection with other people and nature are noted as two of nine scientifically verified causes of depression and anxiety. This resonates with me. When I find myself teetering on this continuum, these are the things that pull me back.

The other day, I woke to a huge moon and a pink and lilac sunrise. I’m told this was a ‘worm moon,’ the March moon that signifies the thawing of the earth. As this huge globe sat atop the fields, I gathered my family – at least those of them who were awake – to come and look at it.

March Moon and Sunrise

I stood, and watched, and felt astonished with the world.

And as the moon slipped under the horizon, the daffodils opened up and bloomed.