I summon up sufficient layers of clothing, grab the camera and go out to greet the great outdoors. I'll regret it if I don't; I'll look back in July and think 'I can't believe the garden was ever white-over.' Sod's law has it that the camera battery gives out two snaps into my photo shoot. Pah!
I manage at least to photograph the wisteria outside the front door. Water had trickled drip on drip down the plant and made a fantastic cascade which ends on the outside light. Where the water has come from I don't know - the temperature this afternoon soared to a remarkable -3 degrees (not above freezing you note) - so arguably any water should not have been liquid. I know, I know. The photograph does not do it justice.
The effort of putting on all those layers of clothing should not be wasted so after stumping indoors to put the battery on charge I come back out to feed the hens; up on the field to throw corn and replace frozen water and, at the same time, yell obscenities to the small flock of starlings which have discovered easy pickings. Grr! Damn and blast you! Starlings, leave that food alone.
Later, much later, when the fires are lit and the lights on the Christmas tree sparkle I spy, through the glass of the garden room windows, a rosy glow in the east beyond Fir House. It is the rising moon, a huge moon of the rosiest red which soars, even as we watch, above the horizon. I know last night, the night of both solstice and eclipse, was the night to see the moon but tonight it is here for us. It is the fairly insignificant red dot in the picture below.
If it looks pretty special to me and mine, hung about with all our knowledge and technologies how much more so must it have been to our predecessors on this old hill. A thing of magic and mystery. The shivers I feel on my shoulders are sometimes not to do with the cold.