Crisp white morning. Frost coats the bushes, the trees. Crunchy grass under foot.

The stars fade into the pale sky while the sun creeps up over the rooftops. Later blue will

erupt as the beams warm the air. Robin Redbreast and Master Greentit challenge each other to a crust

in front of the French windows. The chime is still on the roof beam over the terrace, immobile.

Intricate patterns snake up the gate, ephemeral art swept by the midday thaw. Droplets glisten on

the leaves of the evergreens. The mercury edges up and stops, numb.

At teatime the light has ebbed away and the frost sneaks back over the garden