Snow softens the Alpine landscape, smoothing out the wrinkles, concealing the ugliness of bare ground. In the alps, the deeper the snow the more is concealed.
This is the last few yards of the Fee glacier above Saas Fee in the Valais Alps in winter. In summer the ice is bereft of snow, the bare skeleton of the glacier revealed: stark, jagged shards, collapsed ice towers. In a word – chaos.
Now, as the snows of winter re-accumulate, the outlines of the glacial remains are softened and the spaces filled in. Ultimately the cavernous space may be completely snowed-over. Unrecognisable. And with each freeze/thaw cycle the surface becomes a carapace: rock hard. When spring arrives, for a time the carapace will remain; in places forming snow bridges that will bear the weight of a skier or mountaineer. But beware, as the air warms and the snow softens, the snow bridges will begin to melt. Early summer is the most dangerous time of year to cross a glacier. Crevasses lurk, unseen. So easy to step on what you consider to be safe ground and suddenly sink through the surface to waist height.
Enough of that! Don’t want to give you all nightmares. The Holiday season is about to start. So – my best wishes to all of you reading this, whether you are people of faith or not. Enjoy the break. A time to be with family and friends, and to welcome in another year. A year that feels more uncertain than any I can remember over here in the UK. Parliament has paused, the papers for the first time in months are without the daily carnage that is Brexit. It will start all over again far too soon.
See you next year!