Storm after storm after storm. Snow then thaw then snow then thaw. Unsettled, unpredictable, raw, cold and biting – savage weather to introduce the new year. Calm periods have been rare but one came two afternoons ago as the wind dropped, sparks of sunshine filtered through the trees and the snow lay flat, the whirling clouds of spindrift stilled.
The new snow was cold and powdery and deep. Skis slid through it easily, creating a smooth track that would make for a fast return. For wildlife it was difficult though and there were few tracks. Rabbits had ventured short distances from their burrows to nibble frozen grass on little ridges where the snow was thin. Mostly the snow was untouched though, covering the land with silence and smoothness. A buzzard wheeled high overhead, mewing softly, then sailed down into the trees. Otherwise nature was silent.
Out in the fields a wind swept the snow, gentle compared with recent days but still piercingly cold. The sky was streaked with thin clouds, subtle shades of blue. A weak sun cast a pale glow. Trees were stark silhouettes against the whiteness. Denser woods were black and white, half-plastered with snow.
Returning home I felt the wind strengthening. Snow flurries came from a sky darkening with thicker clouds and the coming of night. Sometime in the darkness the air warmed and the snow began to thaw. By dawn much had gone and sleet and rain dampened the land. Then it froze again and more snow fell. And so the cycle continues.