Windows

For twenty-five days we’ve loved opening windows upon a vista of nature through the gift of a perfectly beautiful Advent calendar – and here renew our thanks to the lovely givers.

Bare branches, badgers, berries, cottage in the woods, deer, dogs, festal tree, foxes, hare, hedgehog, jackdaws, mice, owls, robin, snow blanketed fields, sparrows, squirrels, Christmas roses, winter walkers …

And daily mind’s eye transport through it all – to cows and sheep and donkey, and to “oxen lowing”, and a natal celebration, just beyond the window, in an animal shelter, long ago.

This Christmas morning we spoke of how we’ll miss the happy daily ritual – though the artwork itself will remain in honoured place for the forseeable future. And then our talk received an answer.

Just inches beyond the kitchen screen a perfectly splendid pheasant strolled into our own garden and was delicately helping himself to seed mixture – perfectly placed in the feeder so that no more than the gentlest of stretches was required for his convenient reach. We were enchanted.

Iridescent copper-coloured plumage. Head, small ear tufts and neck of green, throat and cheeks in glossed purple. Face and wattle of splendid red. Calendar advent come alive: “great and mighty Wonder” – past, present and future. And praise. Happy Christmas.

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