A longer walk today has resulted in a longer than usual stone:
More time today, and the earth frozen helps me decide to rediscover the way over the hill.
Scrambling like a schoolboy over the fence, I negotiate the brambles and we mount the first slope to reach the field.
No human foot has passed this way since the snowfall; tracks of deer, fox, hare and rabbits criss-cross a spiral-dance in the midnight's white.
Rounding the corner we meet a set of boottracks, coming from the regular path, and decide to follow them - though they go one way only which is slightly worrying!
Musing on Scott and his Polar exploits we trudge on up into the ice-whiteness.
You disappear after a group of hares who have the temerity to sit in the middle of the field - all my calling and your training is wasted in the face of instinct; hunter and hunted are alike to my eyes, black specks diminishing against the dazzling white distance, until you wheel around and chunter back across the chest-deep snow to loll, grinning at my feet.
Oh Braveheart, small happy huntress!
We reach the woods. A flurry of soft grey feathers and a smudge of red in the snow remind me not all escape their pursuers. You remind a couple of bemused labradors whose woods these are; but I have promises to keep and we turn for home.
Retracing our steps over the hill, wearier now, I wonder if tomorrow someone will mark our way over the hill, or whether a fresh fall of snow overnight will obliterate all our small stories