A Winter’s Tale – Happy Holidays, Everyone

If ever I’m asked when is my favourite time of year I usually say autumn. Or spring. The two temperate seasons, you understand, where the temperatures are like Goldilock’s porridge: neither too hot nor yet too cold.

Then we have winter days like this, a day earlier this month when we had a combination of dense fog and a thick, white hoar-frost:

The gate to our courtyard, decorated by ice spiders

The gate to our courtyard, decorated by ice spiders

Spiders were busy on the Church Paddock fence, too.

Spiders were busy on the Church Paddock fence, too.

 

…if the secret ministry of frost,
Shall hang them up in silent icicles
Quietly shining to the quiet moon

Coleridge

 

The road we live on peters out 20 yards from our gate into a bridleway and footpath. It doesn't often look quite this eerie.

The road we live on peters out 20 yards from our gate into a bridleway and footpath. It doesn’t often look quite this eerie.

The local ponds support probably a couple of hundred mallard. Here, a few graze frozen, winter wheat.

The local ponds support probably a couple of hundred mallard. Here, a few graze frozen winter wheat.

 

You are ice and fire, the touch of you burns my hands like snow
Amy Lowell

 

Molly always thinks ducks are fair game. Luckily D caught them on camera as they broke into flight.

Molly always thinks ducks are fair game. Luckily D caught them on camera as they broke into flight.

Molly and me on the bridlepath.

Molly and me on the bridlepath.

Iced blackberry leaves. The colour underneath is just glorious.

Iced blackberry leaves. The colour underneath is just glorious.

 

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons—
That oppresses…
Emily Dickenson

 

Spicules of ice on ivy.

Spicules of ice on holly.

A day like that, pictures like these, words like those of Coleridge, Lowell and Dickinson… and I come to realise that truly, cruel winter is really my favourite month, when everything is glorified by rimy frost and hard cold ice leaches warmth and colour out of the world.

Whatever winter festival you celebrate, I do hope you have a happy one. Seasons greetings and blessings to you all.

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