It was cold. Cold enough that I noticed that the rain was turning to snow. The flakes glided gently down, lightly brushing my cheeks. Standing on the top of the hill, I stared out over the vast sea of rolling green. Soon it would all be white.

I tightly folded my arms across my chest, trying very hard to warm up my clenched fists. I knew that this would only work for a short period of time. Shivering, I let myself move with the biting wind. I should have dressed warmer, but of course I had carelessly thought that I would have no need for the extra layers. When I closed my eyes, listening to the silent snow and occasional bird, I knew that even being this cold was worth it.

I generally didn’t like to be all alone. I appreciated the company of other good people. But here, at this moment, it seemed fitting that I should be alone. My state of mind was at such a point – that should anyone be with me, it would have to be someone who knew that silence was needed when words were not enough.

I stood there for an unmeasurable moment. Could it have been an hour? Perhaps it was only a few more minutes. Eventually the cold temperature and the long walk home brought me out of my reverie. Careful not to trip over my skirts, I headed down the hill. It was a smooth descent as there were very few rocks, and no trees in sight. Seeing that the clouds appeared to be getting thicker, I hurried my pace.

Past the hills, I hit the edge of the village. One of the neighbors called out a greeting as he brought the livestock to the shed. I waved and continued on. I passed many more houses and farms before reaching the Inn. There was a homey glow from the fires and lamps, and a clear sound of a group of people singing. I stopped to stare through the window at the happy people. Great mugs were set aside on a table that had been pushed out of the way. The large dog howled right along with the singing. Smiling, I turned away and started up the hill that lead to the estate.

I could hear the sound of the sea now. The wind was tossing the waves about, crashing them into the shore. Standing on the hill between the village and the estate, I saw the white cliffs shining. Even in this cloudy and dark weather they gleamed like giant pearls against the horizon. I stopped here as a million thoughts flew through my head. There were ships docked with glowing lamps on each. I knew that one was missing, that it would never come back. Somewhere out in the middle of the vast black sea, it had sunk. We did not know what the problem was, for the night that it happened had been a calm one. Everyone had been shocked. For we had lost everyone on board. The young men, and also the older experienced ones.The day that it happened, we knew that nothing could be done.That day, I lost something that could never be replaced. Tears froze to my cheeks, and I hastily brushed them off. I pressed on.

When I was within site of my home, the grey seemed very cold and uninviting compared to the warm tones of clay and wood I had just seen. Looking harder, I could see that a few fires had been started. I imagined that I was probably quite late for supper. But cook was always patient, and I knew I could count on her to be understanding.

As I thought, she opened the door with a great smile on her face, shouting out happily to me. She led me in and sat me by the fire. People were buzzing about as the evening meal was being prepared. She put her hand on my arm.

Looking up into her warm eyes, I smiled.

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