The difficulties of a frozen landscape brought about a frenzy of activity from the woodland birds. With snow and ice adorning the trees and with the ground buried beneath a blanket of snow, food was hard to come by for our little feathered friends. The woodland owners had put out feeders from the branches near to the tables. Songbirds flocked to them, Blue tits, great tits, chaffinch and woodpeckers were but a few to assault the food supply and show their colours to those of us who would take a moment to sit and watch.
I am not really a fan of flooding a garden with seeds and peanuts, instead I prefer to try and ensure there are native plants capable of supplying food or attracting insects to help with the cycles of nature and life. It seems a better solution than buying and importing food to make up for the green deserts of the urban landscape, however in the depths of winter a scattering of seeds and scraps can bring reward to both people and the birds. Some of the creatures living within the woods are brought into plain view, giving an indication of the health of the land. When combining this with the tracks left by the hidden creatures in the blank canvas of a new snow fall, the indications deepen and knowledge becomes full and enriching.
For those who take the time to learn and perceive the ways of the land, a simple walk can become a rich tapestry of messages and signs from the land. To those who focus only on themselves, winter will bring only a sensation of cold and alienation. But with regard to the last sentiment, I too enjoy the warmth of the fire and the shelter of home. I take some pleasure in knowing that my fire is fueled by ash logs from my local woodland and the coin I have handed over to the woodsman is staying with the rural community and lands I hold dear.