Monday, 2 February 2009
The stupidity of men (and women); or some of them
I wasn’t going to post an entry today but was so incensed at the stupidity of this country that I felt I must. It’s snowing, and our Capital City has come to a standstill because of a few inches of snow! Have we all become wimps? What a ridiculous impression we must create abroad; all buses cancelled in London, people advised not to make journeys, though London’s mayor, Boris Johnston (not at all the buffoon he sometime appears to be), commented that "heavy snow was not an excuse for a mass skive!" Well it’s certainly quietened traffic through this village (bliss) and we have only a light dusting.
It has made the birds particularly active – inclement weather brings unusual bird behaviour: a blackbird ‘drinking’ snow (actually eating it from the top of the bird bath), a robin in mid-hover at the seed-feeder, a thrush singing in the top of the snow-clad eucalyptus, and a bright golden-headed yellow-hammer accepting seed dropped by the table-feeders. I make a second mug of hot tea and go back to bed (it’s still early) and look across the village green to the woods beyond – snow-mist hanging over the hills, tiny snow crystals so small they would fall as drizzle if it was raining. I lean out of the bedroom window to take a photo of snow bejewelling a solitary self-seeded clump of teasels that should not have been allowed to stay in our front garden – but goldfinches love them so I let them be. Snow flies in the window. Maybe I will venture outside later, through the back-back-door tucked into a sheltered angle of our house. Our usual (kitchen) door faces east from whence the bitter wind blows, so we have hung over it a thick old brown velour curtain that once belonged to my grandmother. It shields us from the icy blast that insinuates itself under, round and through the door’s wood panelling. The kitchen still feels like an ice-box.
I am wondering why I should feel so lethargic today, having spent Sunday in Julia Cameron mode ‘refilling the well’: reading the first chapter (hour one) of the HTML book which thankfully made sense, also read a chapter from 'Drawing Birds' - such an inspiring book, and created page one of a ‘Garden Notes’ newsletter, now published on my website. I need to find old photos of the garden as it was in 1969, and earlier if I can. Today I work a little half-heartedly, sorting photos to accompany an article whose deadline was last week (!) progressing at half speed. I need to get back to some art, making the napkin-covered Easter eggs that will appear ‘on the page’ in late March. Tomorrow for that, once I've written picture captions to the 33 selected for the article.
I dug out the following poem written in 1997, almost the last time we had snow at this time of year. Snow in winter is so very different to that which falls when least expected (6th April in 2008, 12th June in around 1973). Spring snow is always blanketing and very quickly slushy; today’s light covering felt very different. Clearly I was in a state of depression when I wrote 'January Snow', twelve years ago; not so today, but a ‘poetry moment’ did not materialise. It might have done had I not turned on the news!
High hills, drifted snow curling
round-folded in the wintry hedgerows.
Sharp, solemn shapes of penetrating cold
Pervading our very being. Winter:
fields, hills, heaven and earth,
for our minds to wake, to re-emerge
from dull depression, to those
aching, lovely sights and sounds
Of the everlasting snow-lipped hills.