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February 2011
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winter In the bleak mid-winter
By Reina Free

It started to snow with a vengeance on the 17th December in the afternoon and continued during the night. A heavy layer covered the hills, lanes and fields. The strong wind had chased the snow, driving it with angry force against the hedgerows, even right on top.

Later on my farmer friend Peter comes along with his tractor pushing the snow on each side of King’s Lane. Even four-wheel drives carefully make their way down Rocky Lane. My daughter decides to walk to Great Missenden to catch the train to London.

In the evening she rings me and tells me she will be walking home via Potter Row. In thinking about her I decide to meet her. Because of all surrounding whiteness it is not really dark – quite unusual – but it is slippery. I whisper a small prayer not to fall. It is very very still – quite a mystical experience, with whispers of secrecy.

All creatures great and small have snuggled up in hidey-holes of dry leaves and bracken. As I pass the Arthur Stewart Liberty Nature Reserve I ponder about the family of roe deer, the hares and pheasants, but as I see the now bent tall grass I realise they are probably all right. Even the owls have gone to their secluded shelters of hollow tree and barn.

In the distance a sweeping small light is coming towards me, just outside Hunts Green Cottages. It’s my daughter Johanna: “Mam, what are you doing here?” We walk home arm in arm towards the shelter of our own house – warm, cosy, with plenty of good things.

So much to be grateful for – such a joy, such a blessing. It is almost 11 o’ clock.
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