It was the squashed frog that started it.
Still moist, it lay spreadeagled on the road where it had met its sticky end. I thought the frogs were all still hibernating, but it would seem not. Instead, they are awaking from their elongated winter sleep and sallying forth to seek sex, mind and body obeying instinct's instruction to find water and a mate. It probably never heard the car; I hope it didn't feel anything. I have a soft spot for frogs.
But it was the first signal I have seen this year that spring may not be so far around the corner. Every year, it seems impossible that the dark dampness will end, and every year I am amazed anew. But the light is gradually winning its battle and this weekend it crowed its superiority. Today, the sea was turquoise and the beach was packed. Beyond, the castle was masked by a diaphanous veil. Only the greyish wash sullying the blue showed it was a February not a June sky and the beach people wore coats rather than T-shirts.
Riding the Grey Mare, I spotted snowdrops beneath a naked thorn bush. The Grey Mare too, is naked - afterwards, I turned her out without her rug so she could enjoy a couple of hours of sunshine on her back. Of course, the first thing she did was roll in the mud before sallying forth to see her boys.
Like the frog, she is currently being driven by instinct. It is her first season of the year and it would be fair to say she is quite the definition of a saucy mare, as she shakes her booty at the boys, then sniffs, snorts and arches her neck. Thank god none of them have any balls.