It began last Wednesday. Thick fog forming over the snow; puddles of meltwater collecting in hollows.
By Friday it was unmistakeable: the air felt soft and damp and the woods were loud with dripping. My little boy realised that the new snowman, which we made together after Monday’s fresh snowfall, was destined for an imminent demise. He threw himself onto the sofa, inconsolable with grief for a good ten minutes. Saturday brought heavy rain, all day and night, flooding the river and washing away the long weeks of snow to reveal the glassy, compacted ice beneath.
Son has discovered new games: splashing in the shallow pools that were once lawns and paths; slithering instead of walking; accidentally-on-purpose pratfalling on the ice. His mother just slithers, hoping to avoid the pratfalls.
Our poor lawns: it’s hard to imagine that this is where we play on the grass in the summer!
A thaw is always a rather dismal and messy affair. It has none of the glamour of frost and deep snow. But how strange and refreshing, to see the intense acid green of mossy grass again, emerging from long entombment under whiteness:
and how cheering, to see the first green shoots of snowdrops nosing through the earth.
Night-time temperatures are forecast to drop just below freezing again this week. There is still snow blanketing parts of many of the fields, too deep to be washed away by one weekend of rain, and the courtyard in front of the castle remains a skating rink of thick, smooth ice. But the green shoots are there. The wheel of the year has begun to turn.