Thursday, 28 January 2010

goodbye January.

I shall not be sad to see you go. It is now a month since the Winter solstice, so the sun is getting a little stronger and is visiting us for a little while longer each day. That's got to be good, whatever February throws at us. But there is still only a little warmth in the sun's rays.

Shine out pale sun;
push through the thin grey cloud
and let your weak light
fall on the sharp green blades
struggling in the hedgebank.
I have just been down to Masham to our Feed Merchants - one of my favourite little drives as it goes through such pretty countryside. Tess came with me and as I drove I looked out for any signs that Spring might be just around the corner. I saw few.

You have to be very close to the bushes and trees to see that they are beginning to be in bud. From a distance they are stark and bare. And the roadside verges, although almost clear of snow, are dirty and dead-looking - no vestige of green unless you get really close.

The rooks are very active. In the summer they pass overhead very early in the morning and fly updale to their feeding grounds. In the depths of winter they hang about round the fields, where ever there is a chance of food - particularly sheep food. But now they are becoming much more active. Most farmers are in the process of mid-winter cleaning out of cattle sheds, which means that manure is being spread on the fields - manure means worms and the rooks know it.On my drive today some of the fields were black over with rooks, sometimes they rose as I drove past, skimmed over the top of the hedge and flew in front of the car in their hundreds.At night, when they return to their roost a little way down the lane from us, already they are cleaning out the rubbish from their nests and falling out over housekeeping arrangements. That is the first sign!

One other sign - the Game Shooting season ends on January 31st and the pheasant will be safe for another year. At least they would be, except that the cock pheasants have already got their smart breeding plumage and they are all along the lane falling out with each other and vying for female attention. I passed three dead on the lane on my way back, their chestnut plumage sparkling in the weak sunshine. Oh foolish birds.

Paul Simons tells us today in the Times to watch out in the UK over the next few days for brilliant and unusual sunsets. These will be caused by nacreous clouds high in the stratosphere, so high that the sun shines on them long after it has sunk below the horizon - and we get the reflection. There was certainly a beautiful sunset last night with unusual shades of pink and purple. The bad news is that often these clouds herald another icy blast of winter. Ah well, we can't have it all ways. But at least in my photograph you will see that my snowdrops are coming along nicely. I would hardly say they were out, but at least they are showing me what colour they are going to be when they make that last little burst forth.


Poet in Residence said...

Oh, how lucky. You are far ahead of me sitting here in the north-east of Austria. Another 4" of snow fell today. In fact, in the last few days there have been temperatures as low as -27°C. And over the borders in Poland and Rumania into the -30's. No sign yet of a single primrose. Or a single crow doing housekeeping.
I've a new poem coming up on Ink,Sweat&Tears to do with all this. It's called A Thin Fox. I'll let you know when it appears. Be quite soon, I've heard.

Heather said...

Your snowdrops are ahead of ours, but I did see some already out a few miles from here in a more sheltered spot - such a lovely sight. I feel that Mother Nature has everything on hold and is waiting to see what the weather has in store for us before she decides to take another step forward.

willow said...

I can't believe you have little blooms already! Its 22 degrees here and a fresh new inch of snow. The only rook in my neck of the woods is the card game!

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

It was supposed to be six degrees this evening but felt quite raw on the way home. More wintry weather forecast for the weekend. Stay indoors and admire the sunsets!

Crafty Green Poet said...

We had a spectacular sunset yesterday but both yesterday and today have been quite mild.

ChrisJ said...

Can't wait until you post snowdrops in bloom. Maybe I've said before that we don't get snowdrops around here -- mainly because we don't get any snow! I was able to buy some daffodils the other day. I buy them still in bud and put them on my patio table out side so that they will last a long time.

jinksy said...

Brave snowdrops...

Pondside said...

I've noticed that all of a sudden I seem to be going to work in the half-light rather than the dark - and the same goes for the drive home, so spring is slowly making its way to our corner of the world.
There are buds on the trees and bulbs forcing their way through the cold soil. I too will be glad to see the end of January, although I frightened myself when I realized that I can account for almost every day of February, and it hasn't even arrived.
Roll on March!

Cloudia said...

The masses of rooks flying over the car thrilled me!

Aloha, Dear Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Delaine said...

There is something about a sunset that stirs my soul they must be a bit of heaven God shares with us from time to time. Their beauty leads us to thoughts of pleasure and contemplation of the good things in life, I know of no one so calis that they do not stop and enjoy the quiet natural beauty of a sunset, it cast a spell over each of us. If onloy the spell would last-how lovely life would be

Elisabeth said...

I love to read your posts, Weaver, both for your beautiful writing and the glorious country scenes you depict. I also love to read about weather patterns so different from ours here in Australia. It's like being transported to another world.

For is the end of January heralds the worst heat imaginable in February by March it begins to settle down, by April we're into autumn.

Once I loved summer, but these days our summers tend to be more intense, too intense, though so far this year, with the odd exceptional day, the heat has not been too bad. In fact I'm thinking of putting on my cardigan right now.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Will watch out for that poem, Poet - I like the title, it conjures up all kinds of thoughts.

Heather - yes, I too feel that everything is on hold.

Willow - don't know that card game. Don't you have rooks in the US?
Derrick - it is bitterly cold today but very sunny and clear so with a bit of luck we should get a good sunset.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pondside - I quite like February as it is such a short month - so it will soon be March.

Thanks for the comments everyone, it seems we are all looking forward to the Spring.