A mild day seduced me to linger outside after filling the bird feeders.
I had brought the camera out, in foolish expectation of maybe poking around and finding the Hellebores sending up even the tiniest little bump of promise. Only the spring flowering shrubs, - the forsythia and the flowering almond - show any signs of sap rising, although across the fence the neighbour's peach trees have taken on a lovely amber hue.
I wander down into the orchard where the occasional tree bears a forgotten apple, plump with fermented juices, ready for a spirited Saturday afternoon spree when the starlings discover them.
I examine the curly willows for any sweet spring swellings, but they sleep on, and along the fence line the naples yellow of the fall grasses glow in the intermittent rays of sunshine that peek out through the clouds.
This little apple spur is the only hopeful sign I found of rebellion against January's miserable countenance.
Back in the garden I looked for anyathing that might be photogenic, watching for waving arms and whispers that say 'pick me, pick me' but they were few and far between. A wisp of weed, throwing a faint shadow on the snow, the tracks of the troop of quail that come for morning goodies,
The bird chalet sits vacant, awaiting the return of any small birds it might appeal to as housing.
Behind the frosted windows of the big bathroom/solarium the geraniums and the last of the paper whites still bloom.
and inside the first of the amaryllis with their seductive sepals and brilliant scarlet satin lighten up the darkness of January.
If tomorrow it is still mild I will call for a drive through the valley to see what other signs of spring there are along the lanes and around Ginty's Pond, and I will continue to keep an eagle's eye on the garden, searching for little bits of green and swelling buds.