It is good to have the ground frozen hard after so many weeks of rain. There’s a cold purity to frosty days, which you don’t get with mud and water.
Here in the north you notice the sun more in winter. It no longer hangs passively out of sight, but assaults you at eye level, picking out detail.
Where the floods have covered the fields and frozen, the ice has caught the bubbles from the exhaling grass. They make their patterns with no one to notice; it is not a gallery, just a puddle in the fields.
In the garden, the horizontal sun spotlights such colour as remains. The winter is not yet deep enough for the blackbirds to resort to the cotoneaster berries, and I’m reminded once more how strange it is that red should be the colour of December.
The frozen grass, where no mower now goes, reveals a track, where some single-minded creature has carved its route to the fence and the field beyond. Only the badger, I think, with its limited sight, sticks obsessively to exactly the same path for every journey. Yet there is no hole in the fence large enough for Brock, and no hair caught on the wire. Not so long ago, someone would have set a snare. Now and again on my wanders I still find snares, and destroy them. I have nothing against killing animals for food – but find it hard to forgive the unnecessary cruelty of that choking wire…