Yesterday was the first day of sunshine, bar the odd hour, for what has seemed like almost a month of high winds and deluging rain. Given the general state of drought that existed for most of last year, there is a lot to be thankful for, but grey, wind and rain doesn’t do much for the spirit, no matter how festive the season.
But the snowdrops, and I am no galanthophile, that arrive with splendid timing usually just after but sometimes just before Christmas, in the woods, are a wonderful thing. They decorate the woods beautifully, bringing just enough brightness and bounce into the wintry landscape. The dog and I did a 10k circuit walk yesterday, spending much of the time (me) jumping over huge puddles and soggy patches while Molly romped through the middle of everything with glee.
Our river, the Adour, which has spent most of the year trickling along on the rocks is now a raging spate of wild water, which is how it should be.
The sunlight brought out the colour that there is in January. Mistletoe glowed golden against the bare branches of the trees, and some grass seemed so green as to be almost freshly grown.
In the winter, lines and shapes in the landscape are revealed- I am always taken by the sombre, communal, standing-to-attention of trees that demarcate fields and maybe ownership, such as these coppiced trees in Ugnouas.
In some of the fields outside our village, there are still small patches of vines, grown originally by grandfathers or great-grandfathers two or three generations back for home consumption. Our house once offered the service of pressing the grapes to people in the village- big gatherings would happen in our barn with shared food and drink to celebrate the work of crushing the grapes. We still have the press.