After a winter of BIG snow, taking walks in and around the mountains in the French Alps in April shows me a very different looking landscape. No longer am I greeted with a white-out with glimpses of Conifer green, when I look closely I now see the flora of the Alps emerging.
The flowers are making an appearance from the depths of winter. The last month has seen the thaw start. What were once paths and slopes that were coated with 2 metres of snow and blasted by bitter winds and freezing temperatures for 3 months, are now alive with new life.
The snow has melted to reveal brown and dead grasses and leaves. And in the space of a 2 weeks flowers are emerging on the sunny slopes. Life is literally springing forth. Colour is returning.
My winter walks are now Spring walks. The woods are alive to the sound of busy birds chattering. The crunch of snow underfoot has receded to a soft springy foot-tread. Warmth from the sun and longer days bring wild Crocus.
Water is running freely, no longer suspended and frozen. The sound of water rushing in brooks and streams competes to fill the air. Winter has almost gone, a few late snow falls and flurries replaced with sun and rain. The air has a dampness of earth and water to it. You can smell the fresh green of Spring.
My winter in the French Alps is nearly over, to mixed emotions, watching the snow recede and melt to watching the renewal of life. Home is calling, a few days skiing in Spring snow are left, some goodbyes to be said, lots of packing and sorting.
But for now, the flowers are the stars of the show.