A couple years ago, when I was still living in the Czech Republic and didn’t even suspect what my life would soon turn into, I was helping my father, a woodworker, make some measurements for a set of doors, windows, tables, bed frames and dressers he was going to make for a friend of his who was renovating a beautiful, couple hundred years old house in the middle of nowhere.
It was winter, and when we were finally done for the day with our work, our fingers frozen and noses red from the cold, his friend brought us some hot tea in a thermos and we sat in front of the house, thawing our fingers and looking across the snowy fields into the distance. Everything was quiet, except for the occasional chirp of a winter bird and and the haunted “whoo-hoo: of an owl that lived in a nearby church, and we could see a bit of haze starting to collect in the valley below us. It was only about two or three in the afternoon, but the sun was already getting ready to set, giving the landscape this magical late-afternoon glow…
Now, years later, I’m sitting here, reminiscent of that beautiful moment. I’ve just realized that it was the most beautiful winter day I’ve ever seen, and my heart sings with joy and aches from longing at the same time. Is this what they call nostalgia? No, this is much deeper than that.
Luckily, on that faithful February day, I was a new and proud owner of my now old and trusty companion: a Canon 700 D camera. I carried it around with me everywhere, and that day was no different. Thanks to that, I was able to dig out the photos I took that day from an old external drive, and now I can share the memory of the most beautiful winter day I’ve ever seen with you…
If there’s one thing beautiful about a winter in the Czech countryside, it’s all the winter birds: eurasian blue tits, eurasian bullfinches, great tits, greenfinches, willow tits, and many more.
Shrubs and long-dead, dry grasses stand in a stark contrast with the white snow – a reminder of a summer long gone, and the only food source for tiny birds who rely on seeds now that insects are gone.
Sunrays dance through the bare branches and twigs of the sleeping trees and sketch mosaics on the ground. The play of light is never-ending; on clear nights, the moon has its turn and paints the whole landscape silver.
It might be because of the memories I have of that day – working and sharing hot tea with my father – or because it truly was the most beautiful winter day I’ve ever seen. Either way, the memories of that cold snowy land illuminated by the weak wintry sun are one of the warmest ones I have.