This past week has seen a bit of a shift in weather here, a couple of mornings we’ve woken up to quite a heavy frost, when the curtains are pulled back and I see the rooftops opposite sparkling white my heart begins to race before I realise with a sigh it’s just a frost rather than snow…..but at this time of year a good frost means I can at least traipse out over the marshes, the spongy boggy meadows are walkable when it’s so cold….the dead grasses and bronzey coloured remains of Summer are all transformed…..
River reeds become so golden hued, and where if there was just a slight breeze they’d all be moving, rustling in the air, a frost silences them, from time to time they quiver as a willow tit briefly perches before flying off…..
The marshes themselves are a stone’s throw away, not even 5 minutes walk away, and separating them from our house is a litttel lane…this used to be a real road before planning and bypasses and such mean it was all closed off to any through traffic, the busiest it seems now is the odd cyclist and dog walker.
One side of the lane is all cutlivated, clipped grass and the sound of “four” as it’s the local golf course…however the side I love is all tangled and wild, fallen trees coated with the brightest green moss, home to Jays and squirrels….dark shiny ivy drapes itself around old trees and frame beautiful views that speak of mystery and remind me of old folk tales and fairy stories…..
Normally you’d be able to see right across here, a beautiful meadow which is a real treat in Summer, full of meadowsweet and tufted vetch, patches of fragile torn wisps of ragged robin and meadow buttercups waist high……today it’s hard to see much further than a few foggy feet out over the pasture…..I can hear someone calling their dog but even the sound of that is muffled, distant. The fog acts as a buffer to what I can hear as well as what I’m seeing.
The verges of the path are all quite sorry looking and most forlorn, the last memories of Summer loom through the mist, angelica and hogweed seem ghosts of their former selves when they’re topped with clouds of white blossoms…..most of the seeds in their crowns have been eaten by tiny tits that fly up and down the lane.
It’s been quite wet here this Winter and this is the highest I’ve seen the water in the ditch for a long time, normally it just looks muddy but there’s a good few feet of water in there….I’ve never tried clambering across here as I’m not sure how solid it all is and quite what is in the undergrowth, it looked proper bleak when I took the photos and it felt very strange to have such a limited view through the reeds.
Trees which look so beautiful when they are all leafy and green startle me as I look across at their bare tops and finger stretching branches….the small tree to the right side makes me think of Hans my Hedgehog, part man part snuffling hedgehog…..perhaps this is a tree version…all bent over with his spindly spikey back…..
I nearly didn’t see this fellow…a distant motionless “treebeard” with his arms outstretched to balance himself like Frankenstein’s Monster…..it’s easy to let my imagination run away with me…..
It’s so cold out, even all bundled up in my shawl and wearing fat Norwegian mittens…..it’s un-protected parts like my legs that really feel the cold air….the marshes are always lots colder, the frosts are always more intense and with such a fog the cold feels like a real presence…..it’s one of the foggiest mornings I’ve known while I’ve lived here.
It’s not a quiet walk by any means, the air is filled with the sound of birds chirping, and calling, the tits are all in the blackthorn hedges which are now nearly all in blossom, mostly it’s little blue tits and willow tits, they don’t stay long enough for me to take their picture and I try not to disturb them while they’re busy finding food, and there’s that squeeky tsk tsk tutting chirp of long tailed tits, tiny pink grey and black pom poms of feathery fluff with those long tails……elsewhere on the verge edges are robins and blackbirds, turning over frosty leaves and weeds looking for something wriggly and soft……somewhere in the distant I can hear a woodpecker…the sound always echos off and it’s even more impossible to work out where it is when it’s so foggy….a couple of Jays swoop over and call, with that all the tits fly up together, huddled together as one.