Winter, At Last

It seemed as though it would never come. Only a couple of weeks ago, in late November, I took this picture of blackberry blossom, the brambles fooled into a second bloom by the absurdly warm winter.

The warmth followed several weeks of heavy winds and rain, and the memory of the historically hot summer combined with each successive wave of extreme weather to build a feeling of apocalyptic disorder. The climate disaster we know to be true on an intellectual level is becoming a process we are experiencing.

For the past week, though, winter has settled in, with sub-zero temperatures and a sense, when it is my turn to do the evening dog walk, that snow is an imminent possibility. And it is beautiful. We are unlikely to actually get snow on the Island – that happens only when the cold comes from the East, and this cold air is coming from the North, according to the forecasters – but we have had at least five days of cold, clear air, bright sun, and the most wonderful night skies that have given way to heavy frosts that make the mornings as beautiful as the moonlit, frosted darkness.

I rode into town late this morning to do some shopping, although that could have waited. I just wanted the ride. Yesterday, I’d done my first shift as a rider for the new cargo-bike delivery company on the Island1, and had ridden the Cowes to Newport cycle path for work. Today, I rode it for pleasure. The wintry, white sun dazzled me all the way to Newport, the late-remaining leaves coloured the barren-looking trees and hedges, and the rotting barge, that has sat in the Medina for as long as I have ridden that path, looked newly-reborn, as if she could heal herself and take to the sea again.

On Wednesday, I tried to take a picture of her on my ride home from doing my teaching prep at County Hall. The view had been utterly stunning then, lit by an almost full moon that reflected upon the water as an ivory glow, the air as still as the moon. A lone bird chirruped in the dark as I struggled to take a steady image. Alas, my Fairphone is a good phone, but not a great camera, and I could only achieve this blurred, but still evocative, picture.


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