Quiet. It was the first thing I noticed after I stepped out of the door, an uncanny, unusual stillness. It was as though the world about me was holding its breath. Nothing moved. The chickens were huddled silently inside the coop. The cats were nowhere to be seen. The sheep, thanks to the obscuring fog, couldn’t see me and therefore didn’t bleat. Perhaps a wild bird or two made a swift dart from branch to ground and back again, but even they were restrained and noiseless. The cold, damp and heavy, bit to the bone. Nothing, no matter how thickly furred or feathered, wanted to stay out in it.

It is winter, chill and white, and despite its bitterness, it does possess a beauty. It’s a world at rest, on hold, waiting for spring in its green frenzy, but for now, quiet, even… magical. The fog and the cold make of this place a winter wonderland. Together, they have slowly frosted every surface. It’s almost an organic process, the slow partnership of frigid mists. Everything freezes, and bit by bit, tiny crystals of ice collect at the extremities. Leaves, blackberry thorns, spider webs, spikes of grass, etc. – they are ever so delicately begemmed about their edges. Days have passed here. Each day has seen the icing a bit more pronounced, a bit more crowning, a bit more elaboration on an already stunning theme.

It is so beautiful – the silence, the frost, the green hinting beneath the ice – that it makes me stop and catch my breath. I don’t love the cold, but I do appreciate the charm and delight of the moment. It’s a good time to stop and consider the lilies, to appreciate how marvellously “God clothes the grass of the field.”