The snow was mostly gone. But it lingered in the tramlines where tractors had trodden two months earlier. Then the ground was sticky and the tyres left what, from this distance, looked like the parallel prints of a finger painting.
We followed one of the grooves towards a drift of sheep. For the first half-mile they appeared as white woolen flakes sticking together for warmth and huddled against the hedge line for protection from the easterly wind.
But close up they resolved to a slushy grey. Winter coats tie-dyed with a combination of red clay streaks and blue woad farmers’ marks. Worsted darned with threads of bramble from close encounters with the field boundary. A woven landscape of which we were a part. Warp and weft.
Across the valley, behind a curl of woodsmoke, in a patch of the cloth with the sun still on it, the sheep were scattered. Pearls from a broken necklace rolled across a green carpet.
And in the field at our feet a stooped apple was festooned with mistletoe and garlanded with wool. Nature’s Christmas tree for anyone bothering to wait a while. There, under a priceless chandelier of white berries, we kissed.
Hands held. Eyes locked. And in that one moment physical and emotional landscapes entwined.