As I write this, rain is hammering down outside, but this morning… Oh! This morning, how glorious it was. The sun shone, albeit thinly through low, pale clouds; a thick frost was crisp and glistening underfoot; ploughed furrows and tractor tyre tracks were chilled solid, having been deep mud just a few days ago.
A long walk with husband and dog took us along footpaths and field edges; the horizon shrouded in winter mist; puddles frozen into Hockney-esque ice patterns; hedgerows draped with frosted lace.
We glimpsed remnants of summer’s fertility in leaves and berries, seedheads and burrs; and the occasional flash of bright green lichen or ivy shone out of the monochrome landscape.
Suddenly, in the middle of a sugar-frosted ploughed field, a hare sat for a moment then ran, a blur of brown and white, tipped with black; our border terrier stood transfixed (back on her lead, lest she gave chase!) until it was out of sight. In the next field we spotted a deer hurtling back into a copse, away from the dangers of the open countryside.
The furthest point of our walk took us on a footpath around the fields of a livery yard. We stood for a moment, watching the ponies munching on frozen grass and wisps of hay, before retracing our steps along the bridle path that leads home.