We stepped out into the winter morning

The first of his week’s writing prompts is taken from Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie.

We had woken to the cushioned silence which tells you, before your eyes are properly open, before you reluctantly worm out from under the covers and pad on rapidly chilling feet to twitch aside the heavy curtain – before all of that, you know. It has snowed during the night, may well still be snowing. It’s not just the absence of traffic. It’s a heaviness in the quiet, a stillness.

I glanced at my sleeping partner and slipped from the warm bed, shrugging on a fleecy dressing gown and wriggling my toes into sheepskin slippers. Resisting the temptation to look outside, I walked, still drowsy, downstairs and into the kitchen.

The back of the house faces east, where the sun rises above a lightly wooded hill. I’ve become familiar with dawn’s daily rituals, and today was proving to be one of her specials.

Behind the blue-shadowed hill, a firestorm of golds and oranges trumpeted the sun’s arrival. Snow lay several inches thick, coating the rickety fence and outlining the bare branches of the trees.

Quick footsteps behind me made me turn.

‘Mummy, it’s snowed!’

‘I know.’ I smiled, wondering if school would be cancelled and already thinking ahead to how we could spend the day.

‘Can I go outside?’ Jiggling from one foot to the other.

My gaze went to our boots by the back door and then to my daughter, who had dressed in anticipation – or perhaps planned to sneak out before I woke.

I shrugged. ‘Sure, why not.’

Discarding my slippers for boots, glad of their fleecy lining, I handed my daughter her coat, decided to make do with my dressing gown – we wouldn’t be out for long – and unlocked the door.

‘Come on then, and afterwards we’ll have pancakes for breakfast.’

I held out my hand to her, and we stepped out into the winter morning.

‘So pretty,’ my daughter said, held back momentarily by the sight.

‘So cold too.’ I laughed.

She let go of my hand and plodded across the pristine snowy lawn. ‘A snowman, Mummy, there’s enough for a snowman.’

And there was.

Our last snowman.

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1 thought on “We stepped out into the winter morning”

  1. Lovely description of a wintry morn.

    Here’s mine

    The mist was gathering over the Scottish moors as we stepped out into the winter morning. We had planned this hike for weeks but persistent heavy rain had made tracks heavy and impassable so we had no choice but to delay the excursion until conditions improved.
    Finally, the rain had stopped long enough to make the possibility of an extensive exploration a much more feasible proposition.
    So, here we were – all six of us – excited at the thought of a long walkover undulating terrain to the caves at the base of the foothills some miles away.
    “Here’s hoping this mist will lift soon and we’ll have good visibility for our journey,” said Ted, the rest of us nodding in silent agreement.
    Armed with backpacks and enough equipment and supplies to last at least a week, the hike began smoothly enough.
    At first, the wintry sun looked as if it might impact the mist and lighten the way – however, within half an hour the foggy blanket became even thicker and the group stopped.
    “We can’t even see a foot in front of us,” observed Ted. “How are we supposed to know where we are going?’
    “Good point,” agreed Harry. “Maybe we should just wait a while and see if it lifts.”
    “What if it doesn’t,” said Bob.
    “Don’t be so negative,” chided Rachael. “We can always go back if this fog doesn’t lift.”
    “Might be a bit hard at the moment since we can’t even see anything,” Prue commented rubbing her head with a towel taken from her backpack to keep out the dampness.
    Ruby didn’t offer any suggestion. She was too busy gazing at the huge shape slowly materialising through the mist as it came towards them.
    “What the hell is that?”
    “What the hell is what?” they all chorused.
    “That,” she said, pointing.
    “My god,” screamed Ted. “It’s the monster escaped from Loch Ness!!”
    “Don’t be so bloody stupid,” chided Harry. “Everyone knows it doesn’t exist!”
    “Oh yeah. Then how do you explain the long neck and head and that big tail.”
    “I can’t!!”
    All were transfixed, rooted to the spot. Couldn’t have moved – even the had been able to see where to go.
    Suddenly, the monster whinnied and trotted towards them, head tossing in a friendly greeting as it nuzzled Ruby’s face.
    “I think it might be hungry,” she laughed.

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