She takes the long, mud-crusted route.  Ignores the path that is busy with Sunday walkers seeking suitable blasts of fresh air, stretching limbs before retreat to warm homes, slouched sofa positions. The first month of the year. Slow, endless, entirely remote from the previous festive season.  In spite of resolutions, the will is weak and moods too sombre to embrace change. She lets mud coat her ankles, creep surreptitiously into shoes.  Light clutches on with reluctance.  Fingers, gloveless, freeze. Then, against expectation, a gift. A circle of snowdrops, clustered tight nascent bulbs. And a faint catch of happiness. Of hope.

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