Winter, unlike other seasons of the year,
is a time of looking forward. In Spring and Summer
we are for ever hoping the days will not speed too quickly away,
we long for the violets to continue flowering just a few weeks more,
we trust the tender green of Spring will not give way too rapidly
to the density of midsummer,
we hope the lily and the rose will not shed their petals too soon.
In Autumn we look regretfully on the passing of all vivid colour,
we long for the warmth to linger yet a little,
we hope the dahlias will not be cut off by too early a frost,
we dread the day when the swallows are seen no more.
But in Winter it is otherwise.
We do not miss the dead and gone chrysanthemums;
we are almost glad to see the last of them.
We do not wish the leaves to stay on the trees for ever,
nor do we regret the disappearance of the luxuriant summer growth,
for this is a time of expectation,
a period of waiting, or watching, of listening.
Daily we look for the faint stirrings of returning life,
hourly we strain to catch the first notes of the birds' song
and on every sunny day we hope we may find the earliest primrose
or the red stars on the hazel bough.
And though these aspirations and expectations
are often shrouded in mists and fog, yet those who turn away from
these inclemencies, avoiding the rigours and buffetings of Winter,
do forgo a part of their inheritance and the beauties only to be seen in
"This precious stone set in a silver sea."
Text taken from Garden and Hedgerow by Ethel Armitage,
plates by Lucy Burton, published 1939.