Oak in Winter


(Andrew Birch [CC / Flickr])

The winter sun is our friend. The kind that half-rises in the middle of the morning, makes a half-hearted effort to force some light through the iron sky for a few hours and loses interest by the middle of the afternoon. I know from the first sight of grey light that this is a morning that will not truly break. It would be one of the days we waited for.

I live alone, so I don’t need the precautions that some of us dare not leave their homes without. I can pull on my boots and coat and sally forth into the snow without concerning myself with who might wonder why. No one will follow the trail of prints in the snow to ask where I’m going but as the sun climbs to its feeble zenith, I stay close to the hedgerow. In this gloom, a watcher would need to be within a few hundred metres to see me against it.

For people like us, caution is a necessary habit.

In summer, we meet beneath the oak. Without its leaves, its bare branches do not cover us so I will say we meet by the oak.

I am the third to arrive. My blood quickens at what that means. I almost run the last few steps to huddle in the snow beside them. We are invisible to anyone who does not know exactly where to look for us.

“Do you have something new?” I ask.

A fur-coated hood nods in answer. Gloved hands pass what had led me through the snow for the past two hours.

“Thank you.” My voice quivers.

I open the book.

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

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