It snows. After endless weeks of endless rain and wind, grey skies and dark nights, we are given a reprieve and it snows.
I walk along paths that only the day before I navigate in heavy boots. Mud filled, water logged, a monotonous matte palette of grey and brown. But today, this day, my way is pristine, white, crisp. The sky is clear, blue. The sun is low in the sky but present. It has been missing behind cloud for many days and it has been missed. I breathe the air, cold, clear and fresh. I walk.
I visit my garden. Quiet and dormant it breathes deeply, as I do, of this soft light. The outline of the beds I will plant in warmer weather remain clear under this covering of snow that has fallen. I do not imagine them filled with the flowers I plan to plant in spring, not yet. I enjoy for this moment the quiet beauty that I see before me.
The woods and fields are transformed. The spell that falls when snowflakes fall has been cast warmly. The darker shades of brown and grey that uninspired only the day before are gone. The richer shades of raw umber, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and payne’s grey are all around me.
I move slowly, savouring this transformation, savouring the scene set out before me. My hands are cold without the gloves I remove to take these images, but it has been too long since I walked with my camera and I ignore the discomfort. I move in closer with my lens. It responds to the warm, low light and rewards me with soft focus, sharp contrast and a satisfying blend of the colours that have been chosen for display on this mid-winter day.
I move deeper into the woods, closer with my lens.
The snow becomes ice. The colours muted and mysterious.
The contrast of black on grey on brown is all around me.
Further along the path, the woods open out into open fields. The last of the autumn harvest gives me yellow ochre and a soft, soft wash of my favourite payne’s grey, blended with palest powder blue.
I return home reluctantly. I have responsibilities to fulfil on this snow day that I must complete before this day ends.
I cherish this reprieve. I am reminded that all can change in an instant. Overnight transformations can, and do, take place. Even in the depth of an apparently endless winter of short days and long nights, dawn can bring a new outlook, a fresh way of seeing the world. A world that only one day before had felt a little too heavy and burdened for the comfort that I am comfortable with. But this gift of this hour amidst this transformed winter landscape reminds me. One step at a time, the movement of hours and days is forward, inevitably. All we need so is respond to that call, keep looking for the signs that call us forward and the dark nights of winter and soul will pass.
I am nearly home, and heartened. After endless weeks of endless winter weather, I have been given the gift of a reprieve and I return home renewed, ready for the next steps of my winter journey, taking the light of this snow day with me.