Archive for category Nature Photos
A thaw has arrived, bringing with it the illusion of spring and melting. The crunchy, powdered flakes of snow have become slick, slippery ice that tricks our feet and trips us as we tumble into the warming sun.
We turn our faces to the beaming light, rejoicing in the lack of pinching and biting in the winter air. But the ice beneath makes everything seem a little treacherous, a little unsure.
As I watched the chickens tuck into their treats of carrots and apple mush, I tore apart a hay bale to cover the slippery, shining pathways that our feet have made through the snow. From our house to theirs we trudge each day, stamping down the fluffy coating that rain and sun have made hard and smooth. The hay tears apart easily, releasing its bound shape and settling on the white ground, enhancing the illusion that spring has arrived.
The brown and green path cuts through the endless white and blue of snow and winter shadow. It feels as though it sprung up from beneath, like a goddess of spring walked that way and brought life back to the earth with her magical toes. The robust scent of summer blows up from the torn bale, the grass releasing its dusty fragrance and its memories. I am transported to the field where it was cut, the sunset of that day and the gentle warmth of a dying summer evening.
The chickens watch my work with more than usual disapproval. Their judgmental gaze amuses me as I move carefully around, trying to avoid the trap of becoming over confident and slipping. I am not so young that I enjoy the sensation of suspension and the crash down, I’m fearful of it and so I go gently. They look around the edge of their canopy and regard me with dinosaur eyes; the eyes of creatures far removed yet comfortingly domestic.
I walk to the house with surer footing, I turn back and watch the chickens investigate the path. Like me they are freer outside, the warming sun inviting them to venture out beyond the confines of their shelter. They walk along the path a little, enjoying the lack of icy pinch on their feet, they fluff and cluck their approval. I laugh and feel pleased with myself, my plan has come to fruition and surprised them out of their grim, old lady frame of mind.
Suddenly the longing for spring is overwhelming in me, I feel it in my stomach and ache for the green that is momentarily resurrected in the cast down hay. The longing hits my chest, contracting my heart with the desire to run my hand across soft green blades, to be assured the miracle will return this year as it has every other year.
I cast off the stillness and go about my work, throwing ice and water away on a shovel, listening to the patter of the dripping water returning to the ground. But the longing for spring remains, it is always there a little.
So 2013 has officially dawned. Stephen has gone back to work (after prising the boys and, well, me off his legs) and our school has begun again. The house is oddly quiet and there is a big man shaped empty space that I’m trying not to think about too much or blubbing will commence.
Are there people who don’t feel sad when their beloved departs back to work after a holiday? Are there people who think ‘phew, I’m glad to see the back of you’? I can’t really imagine that there are. I am definitely not someone who ‘enjoys my space’, I like the connection, the feeling of company that we had all through the holidays. Sharing each day, each hour together even if we are doing our own thing, separate but together.
Anyhoo, I shouldn’t wax too lyrical or I’ll get myself all sad and today really is a beautiful day. After a day of snow yesterday the world is even softer and fluffier than it was; I am thankful for the 2 hours of snow blowing and shovelling that Stephen did yesterday to clear the driveway and make paths from the house to the chickens.
I think we’ve had more snow in December than we had the whole of last winter. The piles are everywhere and the landscape has the feeling of being covered by a massive, fluffy duvet. This morning dawned cold and clear, with a crescent moon hanging bright in the sky, preceding the golden dawning of the sun, finally hitting the trees in the forest as we all launched into a breakfast of oat pancakes with butter and maple syrup.
Every time the snow falls I feel a bit like I’m relearning this place we live. It is so familiar and yet there are little changes everywhere. Some things (such as piles of scrap left over from the previous owners) I am glad to see retreating others, like the pond, slip quietly from sight to return again in spring. I notice the pile of snow on top of the chicken bungalow getting higher and higher, it is at least 2 1/2 feet now, I’m curious to see how big it will get.
Each time Stephen ploughs the drive and pathways he pushes a bunch of snow on top of the toboggan run he made over Christmas. Beneath the snow are hay bales that the boys have played on since the summer, now they are covered in snow and are creating new entertainment. They are much more fearless than I am, they slide and skid without worry and I envy them a little. I’ve never enjoyed that feeling of moving too fast, out of control. But I love to watch them, alight and alive, full of excitement each time.
After the time inside, the cosy shelter of our family and home over the Christmas season, I feel like I am emerging again. I have no plans to rush, I want nothing more than to continue the gentle pace of life we enjoyed over the holidays. I’m happier than ever to keep the busy, concrete world at bay as much as I can. Instead I’m planning little excursions, to the library, to the feed and seed and out on our own land.
Each day is a discovery, each day we wake up new.
It is the littlest of things that give the most pleasure I think, small moments that live long in the memory. On Thursday (after Stephen had been away with work for a couple of days and flew home overnight) we had the rare pleasure of a weekday walk together. Our friend has cut a hunting trail through our woods, which can also be used for a delightful amble in the late afternoon light.
For me this was the first time I fully walked the woods we’ve owned for 2 years. So many little delights there were, discoveries and inspirations; but mainly there was just walking, enjoying the fresh air, golden light and the freedom of the sky above us.
Today the sky is burning blue, the ground is white with snow but it will have to remain unexplored as the second of my two boys has fallen victim to a horrid tummy bug (poor Neirin had it on Friday). So today is about rest, tlc and remembering that walk. Knowing, of course, that there will be many more in our future.
We wandered in the crisp sunshine, a few chores to do but mostly just because we wanted to be outside.
I’m sharing another guest post over at Rhythm of the Home today, pop over if you have a moment!
Have a beautiful day.
Would you like to take a walk with me? There’s some chores to do but we won’t notice that, it’s such a beautiful day.
After checking on the animals (feeding, watering, cuddling) it’s time for a little walk around, taking in the view. Everything is bathed in red gold light, the air is fresh but not cold. The perfect day for a wander before breakfast.
The bees are being wrapped up for the cold season, despite the warm days we are still having. We know the cold weather is coming so we bask in every mild day we get. It is the golden season and we are loving it. Now our walk is done we can head in for a cup of tea before the busy day begins; looking out of the windows at the evolving day, knowing there is nowhere better to be.