Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beware the Ides of March

The call of the wild!

As I write, I'm snowbound in NE Wales.Five days since like Patrick McGoohan's Number Six, I  got further than the boundaries of The Village! It's pretty extreme out there. Sub zero temps,a foot of snow or more on the flat and head high snow drifts. Everywhere hereabouts is locked down and as quiet as the grave. At least the power hasn't gone,despite suffering 60mph winds during this period,which whipped snow clouds across the fields, burying anything in it's path, including new born lambs. It's pretty grim for farmers who are fighting to get to their livestock through drifted lanes and access snow sculpted fields. It started snowing at the beginning of the week but rapidly thawed lower down but remained on the high ground( See Silent Spring last Wednesday). However, Thursday around 2200 hours it started snowing in earnest and carried on-with the occasional short break-until Saturday afternoon.

A walk to the nearest village a mile away was a snow plod.The snow ploughs had cleared the village road which accesses the main A5 but had left huge snow banks either side of the lane. I circuited back on a minor lane which passes the local primary school and found myself staring UP at the drifts.When the wind abates, all sounds are erased. No traffic, bleating ewes or birdsong. Even the farm dogs have fallen silent.Very few people out and all colour has been washed out of the land. It's like the brain can no longer process colour and everything appears monochromatic.

A Sunday afternoon wander down to the beautiful Afon Alwen Gorge and I noticed that a number of trees have fallen to reveal great black root balls which contrast sharply against the blinding whiteness. Oak branches as thick as a torso have snapped off like twigs, no longer able to bear the weight of snow. White water paddlers negotiating the grade 3 rapids will have to take evasive action when they round the final bend where two new barriers await.

With the forecast showing more snow and freezing temperatures in Wales,it looks like we'll be limping into April under a blanket of snow and with that most vibrant and magical harbinger of spring in the uplands, the daffodil erased the gardens and hedgerows until who knows when? 2014  maybe?

As George Harrison wrote 'It's been a long and lonely winter'.

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