|Strathspey & the Cromdale Hills, December 26|
After days of battering storms and a rapid freeze/thaw cycle that saw snow come and go every few hours, or so it seemed, the weather on Christmas Day began to slow and settle. The winds eased, the showers grew lighter and less frequent, the world quietened. By Boxing Day morn the silence was palpable. The low sun shone, hinting at heat but no more. The air was still but cold, nipping the skin. A short walk in the fields was a respite from Christmas feasting, board games, TV and DVDs - all welcome whilst the storm raged, giving meaning to the midwinter festival. Inside, warm, well-fed, entertained and knowing that the darkness is already slowly lifting, the days lengthening imperceptibly, we were content. Soon the sun's warmth will be real.
Later we visitited friends, walking tracks and roads in the dusk as the first ice started to form. The woods, darkened to mysterious blackness; the air colder in the shade of the trees. Returning hours later in the night, replete with conversation and food, we watched the frost dancing like stars in the light of a headlamp, the air full of shining ice crystals drifting downwards. Above stars shone between the drifting clouds.
Tomorrow the storms return.