Late afternoon light. A wander in the woods and fields. In the sunshine it could almost be warm. In the shadows the frosty ground crunches underfoot. The wind chills, whispering through gaps in my clothing. Fingers, gloveless, are numb outside pockets. A buzzard calls. Looking up I see its silhouette on a tall thin tree. Another cry and it wheels away, gliding over the forest. Rabbits run for cover.
The forest is still golden, still glowing. But many branches are bare and the leaf-strewn ground rustles under my boots. The wind and the cold are taking away the colours of autumn. A flock of fieldfares launches from a lone birch tree and sweeps across the meadows, winter visitors down from Scandinavia.
And always in the distance the Cairngorms, white with snow and the promise of mountains.