We’ve crossed the line now into a gentle winter—the still, crisp air says it is so. It is a time for rest and reflection, for keeping secrets in: even a night like this, sharp and lit by a full moon, reveals little. Weird shadows—witches’ fingers—are cast in the garden, the surroundings noiseless save for the crack of ice underfoot. I know there are eyes watching me in the silence but they are invisible.
By day I know them well. The bold, brown eyes of the deer who come to feed in the garden—not tame, but tolerant of their human neighbours—a link between two worlds. Pheasants make themselves at home here: they cross between field and lawn happily, making no distinction between the two. The flashes of chestnut, red and green are a welcome sight. Hares streak across the field. Weird, rangy animals, it’s not hard to see why they were feared in times gone by. As I explore, I expect to see them in a row, gazing up at the perfect round moon to their own reflection but no such luck tonight.
Jupiter should have been visible, but must have been concealed behind a bank of cloud. Let it keep its secrets for another night.
Back inside, the boiler hums, the kettle boils, a child snores.
Night gives way to a muddy, grey dawn. Pale blue slowly colours the sky and a blackbird twitches on the bare mulberry tree. This simple life is for me.