I woke early this morning in a familiar place and the place is called Winter. The mountains are drizzled in snow that clings to my face as fine, icy rain at sea level. The wind plays a blow-torch over my ears and although it would make sense to put up a hood, I never do. Even on blasted mornings like this there can be an indignant catterwauling of a distant Curlew or an insistence of Golden Plover or a fax from a overflying flock of Snow Bunting or Twite. And with a hood up I might miss them.
This is not another winter. This is simply Winter. This is a place we have been before and will one day leave and may, with luck and persistence, arrive at again. Winter is not a fleeting, incidental over-lay onto the solid of the land and the fluid of the ocean. It is its own self.
On a winter morning down by the shore with the salt spray on my lips it is briefly clear to me – late-coming bone-head that I am. It is not that time flows past me from future to past, with myself as the arbiter of what is present. Rather it is I who wanders, with my life’s entirety in an old rucksack, around the circle of the seasons. And this winter, at last, I can recognise that I have stood in this exact same place before.