I woke this morning to a blanket of soft snow.
As ever, the magical transformation of the landscape is total and surprising. It has snowed most winters I have been on this planet. You would think I’d be used to it by now.
The change is complete. Everything looks beautiful for a while; then the facts become apparent: the trains and buses don’t run as they should, to go for a walk becomes dangerous and wet, the default position is to be cold.
The thin veneer of civilization is huddling by the fire. We are a blue gas flameaway from savagery.
It is strange, the silence that comes with snowfall. Cars go slower, and we lose the constant drone of tires. Birds huddle in the ivy and stop calling to each other, knowing they are facing a struggle for life.
It covers the scars. The place smells different . . . not a massive change, but it is the backround difference, along with the quiet. To smell the earth you need to burrow through the snow; to hear the soft fall of a fox’s paw you need to sit still and frozen.
Tunnel End is blackly frozen, and the river is quiet, pregnant with the slow suck of water. Small channels of floodwater lie on the snow like black lace.
The breeze from the north, rolling down the slope of Huck Hill, dislodges snow from the big beech trees with a soft plop.
It is that muffled thump that tells me the land is silent, frozen.
Without me there to bear witness, it would exist only for the fox.