Just before the day ended, rain stopped and a brief, low sun came out. Up on Stonechat Hill , over the rust of shadowed bracken, old wilding apple trees fanned out. Silver birches shone tall and white, topped with their deep red canopies of twigs against grey clouds.
A single, lime green splash of mistletoe survived in a lichen covered tree.
Up in the gorse, a distant flash of white tossed from left to right. An old grey pony pulled at sweet young gorse with her sharp, worn down teeth.
Her friend, tucked deep into a thicket, was finding the tenderest shoots to eat.
The bright bay mare chewed and chomped, her back steaming dry in the sun after hours of rain but her belly still streaked wet with mud.
Concentration, finding the best new flowers and shoots to prune and chew.
The pale dun mare called Fudge, now almost full grown, tucked her head into the undergrowth as she ground down the sharp, green gorse between back teeth.
Leaving the ponies feeding wild on the hill, Old Dog was allowed off his lead and sprang away free. He ran down the lane to sniff and weave along pathways of invisible scent, under the trees where fox and badger pass in the Forest night.