Posted by: Ross Gardner | February 6, 2012

The Woods in Snow

Belfairs Nature Reserve in the snow. Ross Gardner

The first and maybe the only significant snowfall around these parts last weekend and the woods are the perfect place to experience the change in atmosphere that it brings.

The more concentrated sense of stillness that pervades a place after a fall of heavy snow is a lovely and much written about aspect of it, and rightly so.  It was the sound of a drumming woodpecker that on this occasion made the point perfectly.  It wasn’t that it sounded quieter, or even really muffled by the freshly upholstered woodland, but sounded rather flatter.  No less pleasant a sound for at it, but one heard without that more familiar, reverberating timbre.

But it is perhaps something more than a stillness and maybe difficult to put your finger on.  It almost seems like it creates a pensive, introspective air about a place.  The branches and boughs not just heavy with snow, but also weighing more forcefully on our senses; the denseness of the snow-clad branches; the thickness of sound; the subtle  sense of closeness, akin almost to the wood in full, spring leaf.

Snowy Rose-hip. Ross Gardner

A poem written a while back.

Snowfall

The snowfall deepens the wood

And draws its depths into and outside itself.

Conjuring a landscape of looming white shadows,

A betrayal of its blackbirds and half imagined magpies.

 

Distant voices, though carrying

Seem muffled and muted,

Bird sounds swallowed up and scattered

As softly as the snowflakes in still air.

 

The snow itself has the loudest voices.

A cacophony of labradors and hill-walkers,

Of wellington boots and cocker spaniels.

And the wood creatures that pass with a whisper.

© Ross Gardner 2010

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