Winter woodland #smallstone 11
The fallen leaves have changed from the glory of autumn to the uniform colour of the mud they are slowly disintegrating into, and the crispness of November has become the leathery texture of ancient snakeskin. Mud clings to my boots and to my jeans and my breath hangs like that of an asthmatic dragon as I walk, muscles aching from illness and make myself lengthen stride to make my heart pound. There are the tiniest of green shoots, snowdrops in all probability, but the leaf buds remain tightly bound and unresponsive. Around me though bird song occasionally trills out, the first tentative changes in their tunes can be heard if you know how to listen. They’re cautious, of course, and their chatter here and there is filled with rumour: we may live through this cold yet and come to the spring, but we must be strong. The trees are silent, lost in deeper sleep than Arthur the King, and even when I rest hand or ear on them, I sense nothing but dreaming. This is a time of blind trust, that the worst, the longest days of hardship are over and little by little, the light will return and with it, hope of new life.