There’s a fishing pool near us of uncertain origin. It could be a kettle hole, where moons ago a lump of rotting glacial ice rested, covered in a blanket of debris, mulch and leaves, then caved in. It’s pock-marked with them round here. But it’s unlikely: the hand of man seems evident; too round, too shallow, too manicured.
A pleasant spot all the same though; especially when the mercury drops. The ice freezes, edges first, then spreads in arcs, creating fantails, overlapping, like a decorator gone berzerk with Artex, or a child laying out Askey’s ice cream wafers in a pattern on the table. The Moorhens are more skittish than ever as they bob across the ice, looking at their own reflections, walking like Egyptians.
A tennis ball rests on the ice, counting down to its own oblivion. The sticks may float to safety. And caught in a moment, perfect calm. Trees and houses opposite reflected symmetrically. Which way up?