Sunday, 5 December 2010

Life in the snow

Colours and sounds drain from the landscape as winter sets in with an unprecedented heavy snowfall at the end of November. Wading through drifts on the Common, I find myself in a silent monochrome world. Brittle autumn leaves scattered on the snow like golden freckles are the only flecks of colour. Birds flit as dark flecks between the trees: restless and nervous.

Near the frozen ponds I spotted a roe deer resting on the snow at the edge of the woods. A heron flew over the ice without settling at any of its favourite fishing spots.

Yesterday, as the snow and ice melted and water vapour wrapped the trees in a gentle mist, our walking group set out on a circuit of the Surrey Hills to celebrate the midwinter festival. We trudged past a field of rabbits, so intent on grazing the first patches of grass emerging in the thaw, they didn't seem to notice our presence.

Starkness gives winter a quiet beauty. A time of reflection perhaps, before life re-emerges from the cold dark earth in spring. I'm reflecting on the changes at the pond below - photographed yesterday and in mid-May.

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