Apricity – old word meaning the heat of the sun in winter.
February 5, 2020, and we’ve got the sun at the back of the house until after 4.30.
We are half an hour’s walk from Sheffield city centre and the Peace Gardens, a bit more to the station. With the chickens now established on the front lawn of Brincliffe House, and the massive beech and sycamore trees at the back, it feels like a different and more rural world. Birds and green all around. Friends who hadn’t visited for over a year were astonished by the changes: ‘It was all brambles and nettles,’ they said. Some of it still is a wilderness and we hope to keep some of it that way.
We had a first grounds and gardens work day of the year on Sunday. Some of the kids constructed a building site complete with tip up trucks and traffic cones. Some of us tended the flower beds and pots that are such a joy in the summer; others extended the hard-core path so that it’s no longer a slippery, teetering kind of walk to the greenhouses and raised beds out back. Some of us cleared leaf mould from a long hidden path around the front lawn. The chickens enjoyed a couple of barrow loads of leaves and worms with ivy carefully removed.
‘Write something every day, even if it’s only a line, it will protect you.’ Says poet Elaine Feinsten.
How can words on a page defend us in this way?
‘Unless by strengthening our fierce and obstinate centres.’ (Feinstein, 1993)
Sometimes in cohousing groups, when the going gets tough, we might need our fierce and obstinate centres. When we are at our best here, celebrating Burns night and many other festivities, or all working together in the garden, it’s maybe less important to be ‘strengthened’. But writing something every day is a given with me. I started young and have maintained the habit. So I’ll keep going with catching thoughts and feelings on paper as spring blows in.
Feinstein, E. (1993). Muse: for E.T. In Sixty Women Poets. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books,