This afternoon I walked home along the cycle path that cuts through the University Parks and over the meadows bordering the River Cherwell. In winter, the meadows are almost permanently flooded: today, the water was pooling around the roots of the rushes which were bent over and broken -- seemingly oppressed and battered by the weight of winter and the coming darkness. I know how they feel.
In the little pools, ducks dabbled. As I walked by, shiny green heads appeared above the vegetation, watching me suspiciously. Dusk was just falling, and flocks of starlings formed skeins of grey and black against the pink of the sunset, heading for their roosts. They are all activity at the moment, so spring must be on its way -- not a moment too soon.