I love mornings when you open the bedroom curtains for that first bleary look at the world, and see that the landscape has been transformed through the ‘secret ministry‘ of frost. (That link, by the way, will take you to the source of the quote, Coleridge’s utterly beautiful ‘Frost at Midnight’.)
The dull darkness of fields and woods has become a wonderland of pale pastels, as delicate as a stage backdrop for the Sugar Plum Fairy – although here are swans on the icy lochan, looking so elegant in their silvered setting that perhaps this is more Swan Lake than The Nutcracker.
Outside after breakfast, I find the sun still low in the branches. The fronds of yew are rimed with frost, and even the tallest lime trees are white as breath on the cold air.
Every twig, every blade of grass, has a sugar coating this morning.
Frost flatter old and young alike. The poor ruined deodar wears a gauzy veil of white over its wounds,
while a variegated holly, only recently planted and still just a tiny shrub, looks worthy of a Christmas card in its crystalline prettiness.
The temperature is only a couple of degrees below zero (Celsius) however. As the sun creeps up across the sky, the frost melts from the trees, remaining only at ground level. I walk back across the pale fields to the house, filled with peace bestowed by the fleeting beauty of the morning.