Winter Wonderland

It finally snowed last night. We’ve had a few freezing days of heavy frosts, and this morning the world is draped in white. Every twig and branch is snow edged, fronds hang heavy, and the shrouded washing line, thick as a hawser, droops between the house and the hornbeam tree at the bottom of the garden.

There is more wildlife evident this morning than I’ve seen all week. A small flock of long-tailed tits flit through the hornbeam, tiny and grey, only noticeable as they dart lightly from twig to twig, shivers of snow crystals falling in their wake. Crows land ponderously, sending cascades of snow tumbling down. Black and white magpies, blackbirds, starlings, all starkly visible against the snowy backdrop. Squirrels dash through the branches, playing follow-my-leader, nose to fluffed-up tail. And tell-tale footprints along the path tell of foxes earlier escapades. In a garden across the road, someone is feeding the seagulls, I can see them wheeling and dipping and diving; even through closed windows I can hear them screaming for their food. A blackbird calls, and I can hear the crows impatient cawing and other birds chirping and chattering.

And then it all goes quiet, even the crying gulls are silent. The squirrels disappear into their dray behind the ivy covered trunk of next doors old oak tree. Do they know something I can only guess at? Is more snow on the way?

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