The limbo time between Christmas and New Year feels very like the whole year has felt. Waiting to start again, but still enjoying the quiet and expanded sense of time between the tinsel and the fireworks of hope: safe and separate and too much time to listen to the unexpected silence.
In the quiet there are always the barrel rolling ravens and a flurry of bright goldfinches hanging on to the long birch in the wind.
In an unploughed field a single chaffinch does what gave her her name and pecks amongst the stalks for spilt grain.
A mole has pushed up a soft hill on the edge of the field and there is a definite line across its peak as if a playful walker has drawn a walking stick across it . I bend down to examine the mud and realise that the track has in fact been made by the passage of tiny vole feet. There is a vole hole between the mole hill and the field edge . The vole, like the chaffinch has been gleaning the spilt grains of corn and pulling them into his burrow to feed on them in muddy safety.
The year is coming to an end and we stay warm and fed underground with the moles and the voles . Spring will come, but winter has its own quiet virtues too.
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