It’s that dead time of the year. There’s a thin skim of ice on the lake, thin enough to be almost invisible, so the gulls standing on it look as though they’re walking on water. The trees are stripped down; the grass is is covered with a frost so thick, it almost looks like snow. There’s a cold wind coming down from the north end of the lake, so I pull my coat collar up round my ears.
There’s no-one here. That’s the wierd thing. Usually I meet half a dozen people ( and dogs) on my way round. But today there’s no-one. No bikes either, which makes a pleasant change. Usually they zip past your elbow without giving you any warning or thanks. No geese. Not a Canada or a greylag in sight. They’re down in town, by the river. It’s three degrees warmer in the city, and there are plenty of visitors to give them handouts. If the pickings are slim, they wait outside the supermarket and blag stuff from customers.
Everyone goes to the lake in the summer – the little kids on a nature walk from school,the Ladies Dog Walking Club, cyclists, lovers, fishermen- it even makes a good rendezvous for the local crims when it gets dark.
But today there’s no-one. The lake is resting under a thin sheet of ice, all the maquillage of flowers and buds stripped off. It’s the low point of the year.
That’s fine. We rest. We gather our strength, and start to think of the year ahead.