Last week saw the first proper cold snap for me here in Lincolnshire, on the edge of the Wolds, and in fairly typical fashion for me, I took the chance to get out there with the camera. The air was so cold that my hair was beginning to freeze, and the frost crunched underfoot delightfully, though it masked more than one large and rather treacherous patch of ice! I’m always startled and delighted by how beautifully architectural everything becomes at this time of year – tree branches, the last few leaves clinging on against the cold winter winds, and the last seed heads crusted in frost.
My tidings for you: the stag bells,
winter snows, summer is gone.
Wind high and cold, low the sun,
Short his course, sea running high,
Deep red the bracken, its shape all gone,
the wild goose has raised his wonted cry.
Cold has caught the wings of birds.
Season of ice – these are my tidings.
– Irish poem translated by Caitlin Matthews.
Winterthorn and Eternity
Something in me adores the winter –
restful skies, stretching forever, and
enigmatic tree poems on the horizon.
I send my soul after the west wind,
seeking solace in the silence, heart weary and
longing for darkness’s embrace once again.
Breathe in with the nightfall and
out with the dawn, these fields
becoming strange again, clad
in silver and gilt and a different world,
different land folding itself about me,
clouds far overhead
like galleons sailing forever seas,
navigating by moon and star and
crows cawing winter lullabies
in nearby woods,
and in the hedgerows my blood
catches on winterthorns, like
flowers of eternity.