back to Norfolk and an early taste of winter; the jet stream has blocked the flow of oceanic westerlies. northerly winds have brought snow before all the leaves are off the trees and while we still have autumnal colours in the woods and hedgerows.
at midday on Saturday the snow is still lying and there is a bitter wind from the Arctic. we are forecast more of this over the next week or so, plus the bitter wind will be stronger and from Siberia.
contrasting skies depending on which way you look – to the north west threatening slate grey clouds full of snow and hail storms – to the east and south blue skies of great serenity.
the hazel trees have more leaves still on than the other trees, perhaps because they are low-growing and sheltered by the rest of the wood; and catkins to overwinter in a shrunken state, opening up in the first warm days of early spring.
the beech tree still has a sprinkling of copper leaves
but most are at her feet, a deep crunchy carpet of copper crispiness.
the night frost has downed a lot more hazel and elm leaves and they lie in the snow.
many are still green, but spotted and blotched with mulberry red.
another frosty night or two and they will all be on the ground. the snow shows up the tree trunks and instead of an indistinguishable muddle of grey brown the wood appears clear and light, three dimensional.
the trees almost all look dead in their winter dormancy; you can’t tell the dead elms from the live ones, except where they lean against their siblings.
we climb over the old wood bank to the stream. on the left is a ditch and a driftway, demarking what used to be a watermeadow before it was overgrown with trees.
the path follows the stream, full of cloudy rushing water, to where it is crossed by a bridleway and a little wooden bridge. we turn up the green lane, full of rusty orange and yellow colours, warmed by sunshine, the snow melting now, and the sound of running water nearby in the ditch.
at the other end of the track the wet bracken is deep russet and will soon be flattened if there is more snow to come. oak trees in the woods further away are golden in the slanting light.
now there is sunshine and blue sky, but as we get home dark clouds arrive and there is a spatter of snow.