Its a beautiful, cold day in Masham, North Yorkshire. The frost- caked cars haven't shown a sign of thawing since dawn and now the light is fading. Last night the moon was enormous in a cloudless sky but tonight the clouds are over the Dales and maybe the temperature light creep above zero by morning.
I've been playing around with a few images over the last weeks which have resulted in the above screenprints. One of the great things about cold weather, and particularly the snow, is that it paints the world in a simpler palette. Somehow a one-colour landscape like the one of Masham, above right, seems perfectly fine in this weather. Similarly the one of Ladyhill, above left, reminds me perfectly of the way Wensleydale looked a few weeks ago when the first snow came.
Looking at them now reminded me of a poem* I wrote a few years ago as the weather began closing down the high road from Masham to Nidderdale, which it does nearly every winter around December:
Last Journey Of The Year
It is winter
And the thread of road over Pott Moor
Is dusted white
With the threat of January.
The wind has muscles here
That can tread life into a shallow grave
Without even trying.
Perhaps we won’t pass this way again
Until April relaxes the madman’s grip
On his axe of ice.
And standing in St. Chad’s tiny church
On its hill at the dalehead
It seems that we inhabit islands
In the archipelago of the Pennines
Whenever the snow falls.
Happy New Year!
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