Some winters don’t really deserved the name, being just muddy and greyer versions of autumn; but this year deserves a capital W . After months of hard frost , now we have snow in all its guises and as soon as a path to the bird feeders is shovelled and swept, down it comes again in all it’s infuriating smothering simplicity.
So it is a time for reading and at the moment I am reading Helen MacDonald’s
“H Is for Hawk “. The book is outstanding and her prose is razor sharp. It is an unlikely description of training a female goshawk to distract the writer from what threatens to be overwhelming grief after the death of her father. Rather like my description of most winters, this explanation does not begin to do justice to her visceral, uncanny imagining of the inside of a bird’s brain, the need to kill and devour and the need of both bird and woman to be free.
I am also reading “Falling Awake ” poetry by Alice Oswald. She also has an extraordinary clarity when describing the natural world, but there is an emotional distance between her words which leaves greater space for an intellectual juggling of creatures and shadows.
It has started snowing again. A few parrot faced goldfinches are still delicately pulling niger seeds from the feeder. A blackbird is gorging on a cut apple before the snow covers it over again.
Next week the temperatures are going to plummet to record lows according to the forecast. I hope we will all survive the coming cold.