I don’t know about you, but I love the beauty of nature in winter time. The glistening of the snow, ice or frost (from the warmth of the other side of the window, and preferably with a blazing fire, a glass of something warming and a good film) Haha, yes that is true too but I do actually enjoy getting out and appreciating the beauty outside too.
The last few days have been frosty for us. We haven’t had the gorgeous deep lush snow that I see on friends and family Facebook photos, and because of Covid Lockdown Restrictions here in the UK, we’re not allowed to travel outside our local area at the moment. I have therefore been simply enjoying what I can.
One morning a couple of days ago, I woke to a very thick blanket of frost. I couldn’t help but marvel at the simple beauty of it, from the warmth of my cosy armchair. And as the steam from my cup of coffee rose and swirled I looked beyond and saw the magical glitter beckoning from beyond. Intrigued, I decided to go and investigate further. Grabbing my phone for its camera, and wrapping a thick knitted scarf around my neck, I stepped out into the garden. My garden is small, but it’s my space and when everywhere is quiet and everyone else is in their homes, I enjoy the tranquility of this moment with nature. A stark contrast to the buzz and bright colours of summer; any distant noise softened by the thick layer of frost. Colours were muted, almost blending into one. The sky matching the grey tiles of the roof and my breath visibly catching in the air as it exhaled from my warm lungs, resembling a low tiny cloud of freezing fog.
I stood still and just took it in. Shivering, I pulled my scarf around my body realising I should have put on my coat too. Wandering further down the garden I noticed how the grass crunching under my feet sounded like someone opening a sweet wrapper. (perhaps that’s because I’m watching what I eat at the moment and so everything looks, sounds and smells like chocolate!) I looked down and a random frozen leaf caught my eye. My eyes traced the contours of the curved edges, the leaf curled as if protecting itself from the cold.
I then examined the pretty patterns that the ice had made on the adjacent blades of grass. I noticed how droplets of water had formed under the early sun, but had then been captured in their altered state by the sudden freezing process of the drop in temperatures. Of course, I took a photo.
Soon, I was snapping away and enjoying natures gifts of the day. Cobwebs frozen to look like something from a children’s magical storybook. In fact, they remind me of my own childhood and a walk I used to take to my new school when we moved to a new town and I hadn’t yet met anyone to walk with. In the lack of company, and a need to redirect my thoughts, I used to trail my gloved hand along the frozen fences, watching the snow build and fall. I’d sometimes see the most wonderful frozen spider webs, the early morning sunlight catching and reflecting the most pretty colours. I would be mesmerised, transported to a glittering world where anything was possible. Although I’m not sure I would have remained in my daydreams for long had a spider appeared – I’ve always been scared of them! Looking in my garden this day reminded me of those days past, and I sense the passage of time in a way that seems to becoming a more regular thing these days. I smiled at the memory and moved on through my garden.
On I wandered, until I noticed in the corner the old hydrangea plant, looking surprisingly beautiful in its now winter form. The petals, once a soft clean white and blue, now crisp, dry and shades of brown. The usually unattractively dull colour is now highlighted and framed by a thin outline of ice, drawing me into a stunning display painted by mother nature.
At the bottom of the garden there is a small red pot and directly above it I see a touch of pink, peeking through the myriad of greens and browns that surround it. As I get closer I wondered what it would be. I crouched down, and in that moment, it appeared almost fairly-like. I snapped a photo of what seemed reminiscent of a beautiful wing; temporarily frozen from movement by this sudden drop in temperature. I fancy that she is just waiting for the thaw to free her back into flight. This little pink carnation, kissed by a dusting of frost has inspired yet more images from my childhood imagination.
Shivering with the cold, even with the sun now sharing it’s rays across my back, I made my way back to the house. Content from my little adventure into another world, one created and formed by a mix of winter’s beauty blended with some healthy imagination.
A few days later, I was greeted by such a contrast; the sky was blue and the sun shining. Once again, I stepped into my garden and took a slow walk round. As I did, I let my thoughts wander and mused longingly of the summer months ahead. We’ve had what feels a very long winter already, and yet have been advised to brace ourselves for further ice and snow in the days and week ahead. Summer seems a long way off, perhaps I ought to be focusing on Spring instead. Suddenly, I notice that I’m not the only one looking forward to the the spring sunshine. There, hidden in a protected spot is a little ray of hope. A bright splash of yellow. A gorgeous and most welcome miniature daffodil, shyly growing amongst this winter garden. A little symbol of hope for a new season not far off, lending a promise of better days ahead for us all.
(c) Debbie Walker, 2021