Monday, 3 January 2011

A Morning Walk.









Here in the Yorkshire Dales, Winter has lost none of its grip. The snow has gone apart from odd, dirty heaps where it has been artificially piled up by the side of the road, but the ground is still hard-frozen. Where the tractor has made deep ruts in the field, water has gathered and has turned to ice, making incredible patterns that tempt you to stamp on them as you pass, like you did as a child (well, nobody is looking are they?)

In the bare hedgerow not a single berry remains. Here and there a crab-apple tree has fruit still on its branches but that fruit is rotting and frozen solid and at present does not seem to be tempting the birds to eat. If the Winter gets hard again maybe this will change.

In the hedge bottoms the holes made by voles and mice and rabbits lie deep in the shelter of the hedge and go deep underground, to where the earth is no longer frozen, to where the creatures can huddle for warmth in the middle of the Winter night.

As we walk across the hard field a few fieldfares take off from the bare hedge, but although I walk where they were perched I can see no sign of anything eatable. At the foot of the hedge a dead rabbit has been more or less picked clean, leaving just its skeleton and its wet fur - a welcome meal for a few creatures no doubt.

On the gate post our resident little owl sits and regards us, only flying off at the very last minute. He has been here for several years and knows we are no threat.
Similarly two cock pheasant outside the field gate merely walk out of the way rather than flying off.

In the wood the floor is bare and the trees are bare; all is brown until we spot a patch of young green growth, the first shoots of cow parsley are pushing through - a welcome sight. And through the wood the beck, full at the moment, runs swiftly on its long journey to the North Sea.

It is not easy walking in the fields. The cattle, gone now to Winter housing, walked there when the fields were wet and the ground is now deeply-rutted and hard. It seems a long time yet to the day when the farmer will get out the harrows and harrow those ruts away.

today's aros: Ice crystals transform dirty puddles into works of art.

19 comments:

Jinksy said...

The photos breathe cold over us as we look at them! Roll on Spring...

Rusty said...

One good thing about a snow cover, it hides the skeleton of last summer. Ah but spring is still a long way off. In our part of the world january is generally extremely cold, and that is followed by lots of snow. The break will probably come about mid-march. (Hopefully). I must say though there is a breath of poetry in the reality of your photographs.
Beautiful presentation! ATB!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I feel a bit chilly just looking at the photos. Enjoyed this morning walk with you. It was even cold here in Arizona last week. We had a minute or two of snow flurries here in Phoenix, I only remember that happening once in my adult life before, it was magical.

Dartford Warbler said...

I have just come inside from the cold fields and your beautiful,atmospheric photos have made me shiver again. It is bitterly cold again here. Although we have no ice, snow has been trying to fall during the afternoon.The sky is a dull, dark grey.

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Evocative photos Weaver and you sum up how it feels so well. I've just raked some leaves off the grass now exposed by the melted snow and the lawn is hard as rock although the grass is surprisingly green rather than with the usual yellow dull tinge.

Heather said...

I love all those tangly bits in the hedge bottoms and the icy puddles. One of our daughters saw an egret yesterday - what a treat, especially in quite a built-up area. We are not far from Slimbridge so maybe it was taking a break before continuing it's journey. We have had another dusting of snow and the sky still looks full. Who knows what we'll wake up to tomorrow.

Pondside said...

After a walk like that, hot chocolate by the fire might be the only thing to warm one's fingers and toes. Lovely.

Titus said...

Very similar here Weaver. We, however, have been jumping all over the enormous ice lakes in the low-lying fields. Very satisfying noises, and on the thick ice only five serious tumbles between us.
Also got enormous tombstone slabs of ice resting on the stone banks of the Scaur.

deb said...

there is still plenty of snow here in western new york, and all across my lawn are the tracks of a deer and grown fawn who are regular visitors to the ornamental cherry tree in the front garden. happy new year!

Linda said...

We have no snow at all in Toronto, not even frozen ice puddles, (yours look Picasso-ish). we might have the frozen puddles by tomorrow though. It is getting colder by the hour. I loved walking with you through the dales today. Thank you for the wonderfully expressive dialogue. I am learning so much about farm life.. I have only ever lived in cities. =D

dinesh chandra said...

snow cold but this is nature god is great nature is great.

Gwilym Williams said...

I see on Guardian website you had a 3.6 earthquake centered on Ripon. Pat, did the earth move for you down there on farm?

Dave King said...

As always there is true poetry in your prose You might easily tag it as prose poetry. It is the next b est thing to walking beside you. Thanks a million.

acornmoon said...

Happy New Year to you and the farmer and thank you so much for the lovely card.

Crafty Green Poet said...

it's the same here, big piles of dirty snow by the roads and paths. The path along the Water of Leith is still frozen over and icy though. We saw our tawny owl along there yesterday, he's becoming a regular for us!

Your photos give a really vivid sense of winter. I like your aros piece too, I'm enjoying these small observations too (writing them and reading everyone elses!)...

Mary Elizabeth said...

Have a wonderful New Year!
I love your blog posts...your photos keep me coming back!

M.E.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Roll on spring indeed - thanks for the comments. It will be interesting to see who posts the first snowdrop - shall we have a competition?

Bernie said...

This was so beautiful and gave me such an insight into how it looks and feels on the dales. The photography is lovely also. Your mentioning the cowslip makes me long for Spring but it will be a long time coming here in Wisconsin.

We have recently had our January thaw I think and the snow was practically gone, but it became very cold the last few days and last night it snowed but not much. About a foot is all.

Happy New Year and may you have many more.

BT said...

A lovely walk Weaver, which I enjoyed almost as much as you. How lovely to have a resident owl. Love today's stone.