|A Gap In The Clouds|
The wind began last night, rattling the trees and roaring round the chimney stacks. With it came rain and, oddly for midnight in December, a rise in temperatures. I woke several times in the dark as bigger gusts of wind banged and cracked. By dawn the temperature had dropped below freezing and everything was icy with frozen rain. Light snow was falling and the wind was still very strong.
|Heavy Snow Falling|
By afternoon the wind had dropped to merely gale force. A bitterly cold north-west wind driving thick clouds and heavy snow showers across the sky. The temperature was -1C, the highest it reached all day, when I ventured out to see what I could of the stormy world. Underfoot the ground was crunchy and slippery, icy patches hidden under a thin skim of snow.
The snow came horizontally, driven hard by the wind. Cold and dry it streaked across the land. Gusts of wind picked up fallen snow and sent it whirling through the air in great clouds. At times as the swirl of snow from both ground and sky whipped all around me I was in a near white-out, only able to see hazy distant trees and tufts of vegetation. The snow stung my face and I walked with my gloved hand shielding my cheeks and my jacket hood pulled tight.
|A Glimpse of Distant Hills|
The world felt confined and small, enclosing me in a cocoon of snow, yet at the same time vast and endless, a white cloud stretching to infinity. The hills were invisible except in a brief gaps below the clouds. Mostly the world was restricted to a few hundred metres or less.
As I walked home the clouds parted to reveal a thin crescent moon hanging in the cold winter sky.