This morning we woke to snow.
"Do you ever get snow here?" is a question that our summer guests frequently ask us. Well, had they been staying with us on this winter morning and looked out of our window, they would have known that the answer to their question was a solid..."Yes." For the world beyond our balcony had been transformed into a 'Winter Wonderland.'
The sky was clear and blue, and a cold wind blew flurries of soft snow from the branches. As the morning progressed the snow slowly began to melt , dripping softly from the trees and gutters, and settling in dewdrops amongst the leaves where they sparkled like a million gems.
There had been signs of snow on the distant mountains all week. What's more any traffic heading north on the 'route du soleil' could see flashing orange lights to warn them of snow on the Massif Central ahead. Lorries were lined up along the sides of the road in our nearest village , made to wait until the roads had been cleared. But however close the snow comes, we frequently manage to escape it. But on this occasion that was not to be.
After lunch we decided to head into the forest above us for our daily walk. As we set off the snow was refreezing , and crisp underfoot. Sadly the delightful carpet of broad yellow leaves that lay under our acer trees had turned to a soggy mush. As we climbed up to the road above the house we observed that we were the only humans to have been there that day. But we certainly weren't alone there, for the ground was covered in footprints of every shape and size, crisscrossing our path in every direction.
It was like Picadilly Circus up there. What a time the forest creatures must all have had. I like to imagine that a truce had been called, and that all the forest creatures had gathered to play together: from the sanglier and the deer to the the foxes and badgers; from the the hares and pine martins; to the tiniest mice and voles, all playing together in the snow, while the birds looked on from the branches of the overhanging trees. Perhaps they had all withdrawn to watch us as we walked , and returned to frolic after we left. We shall never know.
When we returned home B. set off to check that the snow hadn't damaged the electric fence that protects our property from wild boar. The sanglier are never welcome, although the shy deer who jump over our fence certainly are. B. could see from the marks in the snow that a deer had paid us a very recent visit, and that it had ventured very close to the house. There are no secrets after a snowfall.