Friday, 7 May 2010

At last

After a long snowy winter and a stutteringly slow start to spring the wait for good weather was beginning to tell on the nerves. No vegetables could be planted, and everyone was tired of spending a lot of time indoors, when the outdoors is the natural environment of the people of the mountains. Like them snuffing the air and raring to go, I saw that this was the first day that a longer mountain run was feasible, and I leapt at it.

In the mountains forming the rim of Numazawako, the lake in what was a volcano, the saplings were lifting their heads and springing up from the snow in which they had been bound to the ground, suddenly snapping up and shaking their heads at their release. Even mature trees can be broken or keeled over by the snow, and the winter's casualties lay across the path at intervals. The grandees of the woods, big deciduous trees that have survived hundreds of such seasons, will not now be done in by this one.

The path was hard to find where the snow remained, but it was good to run, stride out and shake off the cobwebs, enjoying the views before the coming of the green canopy. A few insects and small lizards, those princes of the leaf litter,  were signs of the rising temperature and the woods awakening. I wondered where the snakes were sleeping.

The air was sweet and good. From the a rocky promontory the huge open light flowed across the lake and the mountains beyond, into the deep blue of the air.