January 13, 2010

This week in wildlife

The winter afternoon has reached that brief fulcrum when the sky outside takes on an almost luminous, dark-glowing blue, lasting a few minutes before shading into dark; for a little while it's hard to know whether to light the lamps lest they drive out the last remaining light from the sky. It's been a dark afternoon, the snow sparkling pristine and almost blue on the pavements, muffling sounds like an undertaker muffles his horses' hooves; and the snow makes everything still.

The city's mittened children have rioted in the sudden fastness of the snow's grip; they have sought to tame the winter with games and snowball fights, their shrieks lofting high above the blanketed roofs and black branches to the deadening sky where cargos of flakes are held, and press, and wait for their silent release...