It is wet and windy, windy and wet and dark. The air is full of ice-snow, crystals that I would have a concept for if I were an Inuit. The paths are black and glutinous, in a way that I usually only see on the high moors of Black Hill this early in the winter. Walking is impossible without boots, but with boots it’s more like skiing. The only sounds are wave upon wave of wind and the machine guns of rain on wet, black leaves and the high swish of the rain on dying brambles and dead bracken.
It’s difficult to convince myself that all weather has its own beauty when my feet and hands are aching and there is a little rivulet of cold spreading down from my collar.
Falling is no fun in this cold mud, though at least it doesn’t hurt. The trees are grey now, not brown or black, and I need Ruby’s fluorescent jacket to see her, even when she’s next to me.
But, when I turned the corner of the path by the ivy-covered fallen tree and the river, I suddenly heard two tiny wrens singing their rather subdued winter song at each other, a phrase from one, then one from the other. In wren language they were probably saying, “Fuck off, this is my wood”, but to me it was beautiful.
In spring and summer, the wren’s song is loud and much bigger than the bird itself. It is probably the loudest birdsong of all in proportion to the size of the bird that makes it. But here, in the darkness of a winter wood, it had become fragile, as though these two wrens were doubting their aggression, and instead were a little taken aback by the wonder of their duet.
These two little birds, so vulnerable to the cold and wet, made the day worthwhile.