And after the snow melts…snowdrops. Good to walk without plunging up to the knees in white stuff. Even better to feel the warmth of the sun. For the first time in two weeks the road to Pond Cottage is open and, apart from the odd Henry Moore shapes emerging from what’s left of roadside snowdrifts, the Siberian front has retreated.
I used to find snow exciting. I enjoyed waking to a bright, silent world. Happy, while snowflakes drifted past the window, to hunker down for a day or two inside. Ready, when skies cleared, to venture out on to sparkly pavements, dicing with ice. I loved seeing the garden dressed up in crystal bling, that pure white blanket covering all the murky, untidy bits.
Sledging, sliding, making snowballs, snowmen, building snow castles (even igloos with the right kind of snow) – unless you are sleeping rough, shivering without heating or struggling to make urgent appointments through weather-bound traffic, snow brings a rare chance to play.
This year it hasn’t felt such fun. Not after seeing the weatherman explain why Britain was bracing for a Siberian blast (a heatwave over the North Pole helping to reverse the more benign westerly jet stream). The prospect that we might expect more of this in springs to come made that #BeastFromTheEast hashtag seem a foolish form of denial.
This is very likely the shape of climate change, here and now, not some jokey made up monster. I know, we probably can – because we must – learn to adjust (and smiling grandchildren remind me there’s always excitement in adventurous play) but I can’t help feeling it will make life more uncertain, more expensive, and harder, especially for those who can’t afford to heat their homes. And there’s no Brexit barrier to keep this beast at bay.
Raring to bloom
But enough. That’s the rant over, for now. Today it’s good to welcome the sun and wake to birds singing. Intriguing to see snowdrops looking as fresh as they did two weeks ago (indeed their season probably prolonged by the return of winter) while daffodils emerge undaunted from their deep covering of snow. Raring to bloom.
Swans no longer have to break their way through ice on the pond to reach our feeding stations on the bank. But there’s still the last few patches of snow high on the banks of the little winter burn, and the fading footprints of wildlife on a recent feeding frenzy – roe deer, rabbits, red squirrels, pheasants – how busy they have all been. Snow prints show we don’t know the half of what goes on around the house!
As late winter recedes, wild garlic and bluebells are already poking up through the leaf litter in the beech wood. If this temperature lasts spring will be unstoppable. No, no, no! Right now, I’m not listening to Met Office warnings that there’s more Siberian cold to come.