On my morning school runs with my daughters during the recent cold snap, the Buckinghamshire countryside was resplendent like an Impressionist winter painting.
Some days the frozen ground was white and glittering with sun lit frost. A piercing blue sky lifted our melancholy thoughts at how cold and early it was, the multitude of roadworks and congestion we faced, and what looming exams my daughter had not done enough revision for.
Other days a low lying mist revealed an-other worldly beauty, a layered spectral effect, and the hidden blurry sun seemed like it would never burn it away.
I pointed out the scenic delights to my daughters, who glanced up from their digital worlds to briefly agree, before resuming in monosyllabic conversation. Being teenagers, they tend to find mornings most disagreeable!
As I drove home across country to avoid huge traffic tailbacks I saw a Red kite sitting on a hefty low branch which hung out as I drove under it. He sat serene and regal, seemingly resigned to the fact that he would not see accurately through the white haze from on high.
Thanks to many years of dedicated conservation work, Red kites are now ubiquitous across the Chilterns and we often see them soaring over our back garden.
They truly are the kings of the skies in this area.
The romantic in me began to accumulate words and thoughts, as the ghostly and sublime scenery captured my imagination. They eventually coalesced into a short poem…
It reminded me that even in perceived difficult conditions there is always something to be grateful for.
Thankfully winter will soon give way to spring, but in the growing power of winter’s limited light, I felt compelled to appreciate its role in the seasons of life, as well as nature.
Winter’s cruel chill permeates air and bone
Hibernation in Nature’s DNA, tugging at souls
A warm sanctuary emanates from home,
But in a shrivelled landscape life still knows
The secret sparks hidden within; take a breath,
There can be no new life before a death.
Winter’s light bathes the bleak land in bliss,
A comforting, gentle magnificence
Soft rays illuminate hearts out of darkness,
Sustaining hope, uplifting strained sentience
O’ wondrous star, casting a shimmering veil
A mysterious, misty pastel of beauty pale.
My soul craves your parsimonious warmth,
Though scant in hours spent, before
Dipping below a horizon to transform
Day to night; a presence I adore,
Devoid of summer’s searing harshness,
A glaring paradox of penury in largesse.
Beguiling winter’s light falls short of need,
A touch too far from desire’s reach,
Tantalising a burgeoning diaspora of seed
A spiritual force of patience to teach
You radiate your ethereal impermanence,
Precious succour, imbibed from winter’s firmament.Virginia Burges