march coming on

by uzwi

After each thaw the view from Sankey’s upstairs window became much bleaker. The snow retreated to the edge of the fields and lay there piled up against the low stone walls. To Sankey, everything had a curiously unfinished look. Sheep picked their way over the steep fields in single file, unnerved by the re-emergence of this forgotten landscape. The old poached places reappeared at gates, black against the bruised grass. Nothing could yet be said to be green. It was less quiet. Starlings sat up in the house gutters and on the telephone wires to do poor, cracked imitations of other birds; after each effort, sneers, whistles and a kind of rhythmical creaking or scraping noise broke out. Later every afternoon as the days grew longer, the sodium lights came on on the other side of the valley, grouped in twos and threes near farms, following the line of a road. In the fading light the wooded cloughs struck diagonally across the hillside, very black and immobile. The next time he looked up it had all gone quite black, and only the orange lights were left. [Climbers, 1989: new paperback & kindle editions from Gollancz, May 2013.]