Winter Notes: Four

A moment of joy on a gloomy January morning. Cycling along the short stretch of Thames Path (a journey I do 4 days out of seven), the meadow alongside is a small lake and two flocks of gulls rest there. As I ride by they lift into small murmurations, swooping overhead, I can hear their calls and wing beats despite the traffic grumbling on the overpass a few metres away. My phone camera isn’t fast enough to capture the birds properly, but instead creates a slightly other-worldy image of bat-like creatures against a strange blue sky

Frost at last! The sparkly magic of a frosty morning. Ice on the edge of the reed beds in the nature reserve, like the wafting hair of a selkie beneath the water. The ephemeral beauty of ice and frost in nature is what draws me to it the most; I feel we can never quite remember the pattern, not properly, and then it’s gone.

Winter trees, blue sky and a massive, not quite shallow enough to walk through, pool is in the way – the result of this hitherto warm, wet January and Storm Brendan. This is usually a path – but I’m reminded (as we detour round through the scrubby undergrowth) how in the past – within my lifetime – a pool this size would probably have frozen over in January. When I was a kid I never could resist “skating” across huge puddles, even in my school shoes and uniform…the thrill of it was worth any amount of falling over!

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