It was too cold to sit and sip coffee really, but she persevered. The wooden bench was cold. There was no warmth for it –or her – to hang onto yet. She savoured the last dregs of her coffee – creamy, with just a hint of Italy. She sat there until the clouds parted and the weak winter sun moved round to kiss her fully on the face. And still she sat, motionless, allowing her tank to be filled.
The quiet enveloped her. There was no bird song, just the distant hum of traffic in the background. She settled back into the stone-cold bench and closed her eyes, surrendering herself to these first tentative caresses of the spring.
Her thoughts turned to the lake itself, its frozen majestic splendour suspended momentarily between two states of being. She wondered if the creatures of the water, still trapped in their ice-darkened world, could shrug off winter despondency and allow hope to creep in. Could they sense the prolonged daylight and feel the first ice-shattering pangs of spring.
The barking of a dog in the distance and the broken murmur of a conversation broke through her thoughts and she stirred. Stretching, she stood up and stepped out onto the frozen lake. This would be her way of saying ‘Goodbye’ this year.