Snow was falling, the woods were calling and the urge to stand with my feet in fresh snow and breathe the scent of pine was overwhelming. So eager was I to get my wellies on that I almost fell, crashing into the clothes maiden and banging my elbow on the door handle.
Laughing, I fastened the dog’s coat and pulled on my gloves, stepping into the soft whiteness on the courtyard flags.
On the lane, the cars were driving slowly, carefully, as the gritters had not come; but there were no other villagers to be seen. The snow was falling in big soft flakes, landing on my gloves, on my coat, on the dog and there was that hush that comes with snow that sticks. I couldn’t wait to make new footsteps on the field and head up the hill to the woods.
The snow was really coming down now, thick and fast. I could only see one field ahead; Boulsworth was lost and most of the village below me. Just me, the sheep and the dog, perfect. I stuck out my tongue like a 6 year old and tasted the falling snow.
Across three fields, climbing all the time and onto the top lane by Moss Top Farm, where white snow topped black branches like icing and a robin regarded me but did not fly. Wellies crunching, I strode on to the woods, leaving my footprints behind.
Over the old stile and into the stillness of the woods, peace settling over me as the snow settled on holly, ash, spruce and yew. Even the dog stood tail-tip still in homage to the perfection.
In Spring, I walk in these same woods and watch daffodils dance, in Summer I lean in and smell pale pink wild roses, in Autumn, I tread on mulching leaves and release their musky fragrance, but today I smell only sharp clean newness. I inhale deeply and feel a sense of cool renewal. We press on, the dog and I, along the path at the edge of the woods towards a blank expanse of moorland, blurred by dancing snow flakes.
At the edge of the woods, we turn. I’m not dressed for the moor and haven’t brought my poles; plus my phone has died, so it would be foolish to go further today. Instead, we retrace our steps, stopping to pull downwards on a fir branch and watch the snow spray as the branch bounces back. As we leave the woods, I turn and watch the snow filling my footsteps, covering any evidence that I stood amongst the trees, breathing with them, through them.
Back on the field I lie back on a blanket of soft new snow and scrape my arms up and down, up and down, hoping to make the outline of an angel. Then I just lie there, letting the snow fall onto my face for the longest time. Eventually, I notice the cold on my back and heave myself up, my knee protesting as it does these days. And as dog and I trot down the field to the village, I feel refreshed; cleansed by the ice-cold air, soothed by the swirling snow and reminded yet again of the power of nature to get things into perspective.
It’s the 2nd January 2021, a lot of things are uncertain: but I’m here, I’m relatively healthy and I’m loved. What a brilliant start to the year.
If you enjoy my blogs, you can read more of my work in my book available here www.amazon.co.uk/Words-Walks-Wisdom-Wendy-Bowers/dp/1671172353