For the past few days, the landscape has been transformed by the freezing fog into a cut-glass model of itself. Before I moved to Scotland, I had never imagined that frost could be so pervasive, or so beautiful. It is difficult now not to think of the fog as a conscious entity, a sculptor who hides his works-in-progress beneath a curtain, then sweeps it away for the big reveal.
Then today, the sun flowed like honey over everything, and the frost was gone. Snowdrops have already begun thrusting their shoots above the ground, and I think they will flower in a day or two. I took a stroll up the lane to the burn that runs through the manor’s grounds, and followed the wooded footpath along its bank. Sometimes I see wild ducks paddling about in the burn, but not this time.
This time, I saw sheep on the manor’s back lawn. There were three of them, looking fatter, whiter and fluffier than the flocks living in the fields around our cottage. They were also friendlier, and when I greeted them, they came trotting over to see if I had anything for them. I didn’t, of course. I am a terrible neighbour, who always visits empty-handed.