The picture is of me and my Nan on my 18th birthday.
When I was a child, I remember her opening my bedroom curtains at this time of year, letting the morning Winter Sun into my bedroom. The window would be icy, and often there would be a mist outside. I would sit up and look outside and see the icicles hanging from the corners of houses, and the sheen of ice on the bare branches of shrubs in our neighbours’ gardens.
“Old Jack Frost was out last night,” she would say.
Old Jack Frost. In my child’s imagination I would see this quite frightening figure. Long, icy fingers sprinkling glassy dust over the land, skipping from garden to garden, from field to field, all unseen by the people sleeping soundly in their beds, yet maybe sensed by other animals like a stalking cat, or dog, half asleep by a back door, raising its head as Old Jack passed by outside.
I love these old traditions and myths. Even now when I wake up and see the ice on bare branches, I like to imagine Old Jack passing by, close to my window, as I slept, sprinkling his dust across the land…..