The curved blade of the weather front slices across the land; the air is Atlantic grey; a scimitar’s shining sweep from Biscay to Malin clangs with cold continental iron and the snow swirls and falls, whirling in the wild eddies of the sky and smoothing the humps and hollows of the ground. The curved blades of the ploughs bite into the drifts and fling furls to the roadsides, filling the dykes and walling the verges to the height of a man. Daylight is delirious, hurled raving into the enveloping dark, its face stinging and burning with blown ice; there is no respite.
Communities huddle indoors and peer out at the powdered flecks flowing past dim streetlights. The enormity of the sky hangs over them; the outside closes round them; they are excited… and awed. The need for food and warmth and shelter has primal significance and ancient firelight flickers in their eyes.
Morning is still, with no sun. In every direction, flat fields stretch into a gloomy distance. Trunks and branches of solitary trees are black, and white with snow and rime. More snow will come.
Silence enfolds the January Fenlands.