Snow and Snowdrops

On Saturday we headed up the Lakes to walk round Tarn Hows and enjoy afternoon tea in Grasmere. The weather was beautiful, bright and cold, with snow on the hills. The Tarn itself was completely clear of snow and ice so we could enjoy the view without sliding around!

As well as snow there were also snowdrops which reminded us that Spring is just around the corner. I love the way February combines deep Winter with the heraldings of Spring and better weather to come. Miss Read in her wonderful novels of country life writes about the joy of February:

"We were all very thankful to tear off January from our calendars and to look hopefully at February. The days were now perceptibly longer and I took my first walk-after-tea of the year in the light."

Kathleen Raine, a contemporary of Norman Nicholson, living in Martindale above Ullswater, wrote of snowdrops

 "the snowdrops in the manse garden were countless, there were always more, giving a kind of knowledge that nature is inexhaustible, that multitude is her secret, her deep mystery. There could be no end to snowdrops."

Meanwhile Wordsworth wrote in his Ode to a Snowdrop:
          LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
          But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
          Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
          Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
          Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
          The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
          Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
          Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
          Shall soon behold this border thickly set
          With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing               

          On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
          Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
          Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
          And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

After our walk we drove down to Grasmere and enjoyed afternoon coffee at the newly opened Mathilde's Café at the Heaton Cooper Studio. Surrounded by beautiful paintings and pottery we talked about the beauty of the Lake District and why it means so much to both of us to relax and enjoy nature.