After what seemed a very long time indeed, where fall stretched out into late November and then December, the winter finally arrived. In the very last few days of the year, ice rain slipped slowly from the sky and left a glassy coating on everything around us. With the temperatures finally dropping enough to freeze the ankle deep mud, we welcomed the colder weather and even dreamed of a cleansing coating of snow.
An afternoon dog walk gave us the chance to wander through crunchy grass, revelling in solid ground beneath our feet. While I would never claim to enjoy ice rain while it’s happening, the resulting beauty is undeniable. The foundation was laid for snow that would come a few days later, bringing with it the comforting feeling of enclosure and restfulness. A feeling I’ve long been waiting for.
As we wandered the world seemed transformed, held in suspended animation by a thin cocoon of ice and frost. Left over crab apples seemed to hover a little, as if ready to fall but unable to. The netting we used to create a protective, chicken proof, fence around my garlic bed was transformed into a glistening thing, shimmering with a thousand points of light as misty gold flowed unctuously across our afternoon.
Walking back up to the house, cold and cleaned out by the walk, we turned to see the world on fire. The creamy, yellowed light was captured like a candle flame on top of each blade of grass, each twig, each tree. You cannot help but be swept away by a moment like that, by the sheer brilliance and beauty that nature can throw down in front of you as you are casually walking home. They happen, of course, a million times a day. Moment after moment of something stunning happening somewhere, but it’s all outside, outside waiting for you to come and notice.
I can’t capture with my camera the way the earth lights up as the sun sets; the way a stem of Queen Anne’s Lace, coated in ice, can shine like a beacon lighting our way home. I can hope to show a glimpse of the show we witnessed, and hope you got to see something equally beautiful where you are instead. I snapped a few pictures and then lowered my camera, acknowledging the hopelessness of my quest; instead I stood and looked not with a lens but my eyes. I soaked it in, feeling as though some of the light were soaking in to me, I breathed it in on the brisk, icy air.
As the ball of gold dipped behind the trees we turned to the house, we began the work of evening chores, carrying buckets out into the twilight. But as we closed the doors against the cold air of night, I like to think we carried a little bit of the gold in with us, staining the inside of our eyelids as we turned to the hearth and rest.