When I was planning my drive north for Christmas, I predicated all my plans with a cautious ‘depending on the weather’, recalling a couple of years when the snow and ice blanketing the country had made my journeys stressful white knuckle rides, even though I had followed the prevailing recommendations and kept to main roads and stocked up with a blanket, a hot flask and a shovel.
As it has turned out, we are laughing at the thought that snow might be a bit of an inconvenience this year, as much of the country is drowning below unprecedented levels of rain and flood water. But I’m well trained, so although the shovel was a little superfluous in these conditions, I did equip myself with more food than would be normally necessary for a single day, as well as my flask of hot water, just in case.
And how hideous it is to drive in torrential rain, across roads shimmering with surface water, beneath the wheels of lorries throwing up oily spray. I was boss eyed by the time I had completed my journey, the thrum of the windscreen wipers on double speed echoing inside my head long after I had arrived.
The idea of some nice calm quiet snow is very appealing, and I remembered this morning at Wellspring House a couple of years ago. A Big Storm had been threatening for a couple of days, and we had been tracking its course on the news and weather sites, hearing that Washington DC was to be closed down in anticipation of its arrival and feeling relieved that we didn’t have to go anywhere if we didn’t want to. The snow fell during the early evening and through the night, and I had been woken in the small hours by grinding noises and flashing lights, which turned out to be a local man, gardener in the summer, snow shifter in the winter, clearing the main drive to the house.
And then when dawn came, the air was clear and very soon the sun emerged and illuminated the crunchy white landscape. I took the photo before anyone came to spoil the smooth snow just outside the front door. Soon the necessity of a walk or the building of a snowman, or the throwing of snowballs would churn up the surface, and overlay the animal prints with the cleats of sensible boots.
I’m no tracker, so I’ve no idea what sort of creatures these were which came up to the house after the snow stopped falling, nor what they were looking for, but I love how neat the tracks look, and the fact that one of the animals came up the path rather than across the flower beds, and that they all seemed to approach the front door, albeit sideways. Were they all there at the same time, I wonder?
But a few moments later, when the normal traffic of life resumed, all the traces were gone…..