Notes from a ramble along the River Wye – 18/12/2017 ECvW
We are currently living in a post-snow demi-thaw. Over-whelmed by last week’s heavy fall the broken trees and branches now rest upon their torn roots waiting to be collected. They’ll not be wasted, heating our homes in Christmas fires or to be festooned along with ivy, holly and mistletoe in Yuletide celebrations.
The river Wye lurches fat on Welsh tundra melt-water; brownish green as tarnished copper and babbling full of mountain news in hurried consonants. Sometimes it splutters, throwing up onto its banks the carcass of a well-travelled salmon kelt for hungry crows to marvel at.
A low glaring sun catches the frosted leaves and slowly softens the glassy rime on blades of grass and berries, all the while playful squirrels chase each other in spiralled vortices around oaks and ash. Sheep huddle and chew, held silent in plumes of steaming breath.
Small birds puffed up like party balloons rummage in undergrowth, while Jackdaws warm their underskirts on top of chimney flues. The castle looks as cold as ever but the town sparkles with colourful Christmas lights, and dazzling shop windows.
These long nights full of stars and wonder, firelight stories, old songs and friends are perhaps the best insulation against the cold. So my advice is don’t rush about ticking off lists and getting knotted with sellotape, just take your time and remember, “A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.” –John B. Priestley.