My feet crunch through thawed then frosting snow. Behind me the moon, on the cusp of full, glows warm. A torch, up here on the field tonight, will not be necessary.
I close my eyes the better to hear the night.
For a start there's a stupid plane disturbing the peace of the small mountain kingdom. 'Go plane, just go.' I urge. And indeed it does - on it's way to Manchester or Liverpool perhaps. Then at last there is silence...but not silence because the world has sounds.
Is that an owl over there in Badnage Wood? I think so. And there's such an orchestra of sheep and lambs too - baa's and bawls and bleats, call and response...but never harmony. Ah! It's a discordant modern piece.
Drill down beneath the sheep sounds and listen - there is the roar of the stream which rises up near Cym Duggan and follows a stony path to the Rea Valley, picking up the name The Lowerfield Brook along the way. (Up here of course it is not known by that name - it is an anonymous watercourse - though I imagine that given long enough we would call it more than 'the stream'.) Tonight it roars and tonight the conifers sigh; a gentle soughing sound.
I don't think there is any other sound...oh maybe the odd rustle of a roosting hen...but otherwise the night has some sort of purity. By moonlight and the snow's reflected light my opened eyes see black and white in great detail. That ridge and furrow over there, just beneath the church? Is it part of some ancient landscape or the remains of 'The Long Mountain Experiment' aka potato planting on uplands during WWII? And just what makes the medieval farmer a more 'romantic' proposition for me than the latter day potato planter I wonder?
Ah well. I turn to the south, into the moon's light and towards my supper.