A winter night

That rare thing – snow.  We get so little here that my excitement rises like a child.  I relish the thought of a night time visit to Ben and Cloud who are at winter grazing a short drive away.  I fill the jeep with hay and feed, wrap up, put on my head torch and persuade my eldest daughter to come with me.  The snow swirls in the headlights throwing the beam back to me.  I dip the beam and drive slowly, the ground slippy from the quickly gathering snow.  As we turn into the side road two deer appear in front of the car, surprisingly small, walking in front of us with white flags of tails raised behind them.  They add another layer of enchantment to the silent, swirling, fairy tale scene.

Arriving at the winter grazing, all tracks have vanished.  My daughter’s sense of direction holds good from three years ago when Ben and Rosie spent a winter here.  I, who was here the day before, wander into bushes, hopelessly lost without her.  Ben and Cloud hear us and emerge from the dark in front of us, Cloud excited by the feed and startled by the light.  Feed and hay given we take photos from camera phones by the light of my head torch.  And then have the sense to pause, to pull ourselves away from the lure of this too easy technology.  I turn off the torch and as our eyes adjust we feel as well as see them in the dim light.  Ben’s breath is warm on my cheek in a greeting, a benediction nearly which remains with me as we drive away.

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