A walk is no walk unless it’s uphill
I console myself
panting up the slope behind the farm.
The big snow of a month past
has vanished from the fields
but lies here yet
and has seen sporadic supplements
the last few nights.
But I am unprepared for the plateau
where the snow is hard
blown deep against the rocks
but clearing from the tips of heather stems
to reveal a kind a tweedy fabric.
The sun is bright
– an icy westerly freezes my brain-
but the air lurks in my nostrils
like a chilled dry white wine
with memoried fragrances
that do not exist
in this frozen waste
where the snow glisters with countless crystals,
ice gleams with surface melt
scoops and curls and tendrils of deeper snow
remind me how winter shows the purer forms.
On the north side
drifts freeze hard
for the easiest walking
Rocks hold coatings of wind-drift.
I meet my father’s ghost here
above the dry loch
that resembles a glacier
creeping downhill to Newtonmore.
For a moment I seek a second shadow.
Seeing the clouds appear
I turn home early,
wanting to make the return in sunshine.
Gulleys on the south side
run like silver fire
trapped air and water collude in moving
beneath melting ice,
a hare runs towards a ridge
white and white.
Perhaps I turned back too soon?
the sun is shining still,
and I am smiling
punching time on paradise.