Up in the frosty field, my shadow takes a stroll along the hedge in the early morning sun.
There’s been some wondrous skies over the past few days, the light changing the landscape in front of my eyes.
Across the way, I can see a pair of swans on the grass in front of the old people’s bungalows. How romantic, I think, it being Valentine’s Day. The devotion of swans to their partners is the stuff of mythology.
But I don’t have my glasses on and they could be seagulls. And, in any case, according to the BBC Earth website, ‘Swans often do stay with their partners for life. But whatever feelings they may have for each other, this loyalty is a strategy for maximising the number of cygnets they can raise.’
Further along, I see the village nymph looking rather lonely on the roadside, probably wishing she was a famous statue by Rodin rather than being purchased from a garden centre in the twenty first century.
A pair of daffodils restores my faith in the courtship of nature.
There is romance and beauty all around this part of Dorset.
As my shadow walks in the trees again, and I prepare myself to photograph this phenomenon while the sun peeps over the ridge, I reach the brow and see an elderly man with a little white dog on a long lead, walking towards me.
‘Good morning,’ he says, as my dog runs rings around him and his terrier.
‘And what a beautiful morning it is, too.’
‘Do you live here?’ he asks me.
‘Indeed I do,’ I say.
‘Well then you are blessed,’ he says.
‘And you?’ I ask him.
‘I’ve just moved in,’ the old man says.
It transpires that, for nearly the last decade-and-a-half, he’s lived just a few miles away, deep in Hardy country, right in the middle of nowhere. But the time was right to move over a few hills and to civilisation.
‘It was lovely,’ he says. ‘But it was a little bit isolated. Here, you’ve got agriculture, which is what I had before, but with this incredible sense of history.’
I look up towards Lewesdon, the highest point in Dorset and where there’s a dip in the treeline where an aeroplane crashed, and I know exactly what he means.
We exchange first names (‘this village is so friendly’), share stories about our dogs and say goodbye until we meet in the fields again one morning or at Friday night’s film show in the village hall.