Winter Wonderland

The snow which now has the village pretty well cut off continued yesterday and though the days temperatures are warmer it looks like it is here for Christmas. Which of course would normally be wonderful except for the fact that I have a cold – or at least I am fighting off some bug that wants to make me feel awful. Why can’t bugs make people feel wonderful? It would certainly be better for their existence as we would all want to be infected.

But then how we approach what is wonderful or not depends on where we are in our thinking and how our attitudes are affected by our living conditions. With my mother due home tomorrow and food to buy I have to admit to a slight worry, but for the fact that there are plenty of four wheel drive vehicles around and people to help. This is when community really kicks in with the elderly being visited to find out if they are ok, it is also the time when suddenly you realise that a full half of the local population by dint of marriages over the past three hundred years, are related to each other.

At least my dogs are happy enough and sometime today I will be driving along the main roads which are passable with care. But they were on Saturday and I still saw two accidents within eight miles.

Off to make my honey drink!

Winter’s Fortune

The cold is here and I am happy to say we have a warm, enclosed fire going which as I write has been burning for four days. Momo my rescued little dog loves the fire and spends the day curled up on the softest chair nearby and in the evenings sometimes even gets up and stretches out on the tiles in front of the fire. Such a testing life!

The morning walk is always greeted with the roosting birds flying out over our heads to spend the day in their favourite fields where sadly three days ago I saw a dead cow and if nature is beautiful she is also pretty mean because the magpies peck out the dead’s eyes first then rip off the skin and it would have been a better system if the earth just sucked these creatures up and let them rot down with more dignity.

WINTER’S FORTUNE

When snow has settled on the ground,
Silence hangs all around,
But for my laughing and shouting
But for the snowballs I send dancing.
Winter’s Best!

With thick, wool mittens and new boots,
Warm head! Warm hands! Warm roots!
Sledges slipping over snow,
Faster than the fleet we go!
Raise my voice with the rest,
Winter’s Best!

But if your cold through and through,
Too poor and sad for snow’s sweet tune,
Blue hands! Blue nose! Blue feet!
Summer must be hard to beat!

(A poem from the upcoming collection If You Are A Child, These Are For You)

The Coldness Of Bones

And so it is snowing again and across the fields and upon the trees the ancient white goddess shows her glory and her impermanence. She is fickle like all goddesses and cold to the touch and across her skin are my footprints and those of my dogs. And across two fields this morning those of a sleek fox.

She colours everything with the same indifference with which she chooses her days to fall. She cares not for our preoccupied minds and needs, but like an artist taking an empty canvas and saying, ‘now’ she draws a thick brush across the canvas and before you know it the canvas is changed into a painting.

And it is the painting she does that allures, that captivates, that draws us out. The softening of all we know, the clouding of all we are used to, into something at once charming and somehow uncertain.

These are the days when no one can hide their footprints and no animal can be anonymous. The days of snow.

Fire

Perhaps it’s the three inches of snow outside that says ‘no grocery delivery today’ that made me think of warmth. Or maybe it was the fact that coming downstairs on a dark winter’s morning I was delighted to find the stove in the front room still burning merrily.

And I wonder about opposites.

I wonder why, when it is cold, we long for warmth and when it is warm, we long for cold.  It can be too cold, and too warm but over the course of a year it will be both. But human beings do not think over the course of a year. We have to get through the here-and-now. It is this hour, this morning, this day that concerns us.  Which is why we are always thinking of the things we don’t have whilst enjoying – or not – the things we do. As if seconds are a merry-go-round we cannot get off and we are spinning so fast we cannot quite see the view around us but we know what it should look like and we know that it is there.

And then the pressures of having to be ‘earning’ are relentless and give us little time to stop-and-stare.  But I am with W H Davies on this…if we rule our lives to that extent that we lose sight of the view and cannot stop whenever we want to, we have lost sight of living.

So the warmth of my fire, and cold of the snow when I walk the dogs, are equals.

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