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A Toast to Winters Past

In the countryside the air is hoary, bitingly cold, a sheet of frozen metal. The snows envelop the land with an austere opaqueness, cloaking an earth already hardened by ice. In the woods the trees are bare, the branches brittle and spear-like, the trunks chiselled like masonry into stiff, stone forms. A solitary leaf falls to the ground, a momentary fragment of burnished colour against the white covering of snow, a forgotten token from autumn. There is a rustle in the undergrowth as the last creature moves with haste into its prepared winter burrow, and then all is still. Every part of the countryside is covered with a thick coating, and the smaller inhabitants of the woods and fields, oblivious of the change above them, continue their long sleep.

The forests of the Northern Hemisphere are for the moment silent and motionless.

Raven in Birch by Jim Brandenburg

Raven in Birch by Jim Brandenburg

In the park the chilled fingers of an icy wind blast through thick scarves and sheepskin boots alike. A fretwork of frost covers the ground like muslin, dusting the pathways with a myriad of tiny glittering stones. Puddles and ponds are thick with ice and children in red wellingtons and knitted hats crunch through the frozen leaves on the ground with laughter and pleasure, letting out a mist of breath as they exhale. One of them cries out and points upwards. A single flake of snow is falling slowly to earth, floating, feather-like, in slow motion. More follow, blurred downward brush-strokes of white and silver, then a synchronised dance of flakes racing to the ground. Balls of white powder fly hazardously through the air and a dog running alongside barks with delight, showering a passerby as it shakes its fur eagerly. Faces turn upwards in anticipation as the snow falls faster and thicker, clinging to strands of hair, bleaching pathways, curling around lamp-posts, lingering upon roofs, until both the town and the countryside are covered in a thick white cloak.

There was much to celebrate last year with The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the magnificent London 2012 Olympics, and may the directors and staff of Grays of Westminster and Nikon Owner wish you a happy and prosperous 2013.

With very best wishes,

Gillian Greenwood
Features Editor /Events’ Coordinator

Image © Jim Brandenburg
Words © Gillian Greenwood

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