The sun has not touched The Run in the early hours for what seems months. It is a cold place in the mornings, shaded but open to the golf course on one side, a narrow trail at the end of the wind's path, cold and loud. It can be quite unfriendly, especially under feet of snow, but it is a place we love and the place where we walk each morning, so we go there, just the two of us, Duncan and me.
This morning, in the hard frost of the earth, we found two leaves, fallen together some time in the night, the last from the Japanese Elm at the head of our trail. They tumbled from their roost, the only place they have ever knows despite looking out over the world, and fell as one, alighting as though holding hands.
Duncan leaned over them, sniffed them gently as he would a small animal, and waited for me to join him at their side. We looked down on them for a long moment, a smile on my face, infinite understanding on my dog's.