"Everything looks different in the snow," he told me once.
"Everything looks different at night," I corrected.
And snow is falling now. It is difficult to believe that six months ago these woods looked so different, so bright. The sun did not go to bed so early, nor did the woodland creatures. Everything was alive, the woods were resonant with the sounds and thrum of life.
Tonight the woods are silent.
Perhaps I should not have stopped here. My horse stamps eagerly, impatient to depart. But I can not bear to move from this place. Instead I watch it fill silently with snow.
When the snow melts it will take with it all my memories. The place I so cherish will become unrecognisable. As he did.
I wonder if I should go to the village. Perhaps he will have a candle in his window so that I may see inside. Perhaps I can pretend that my horse has cast a shoe. Perhaps he will take pity on me. Perhaps he will forget that he no longer wishes to see me. Perhaps the sight of my face will make him forget his anger.
Or perhaps he is already asleep. Perhaps he is dreaming of the times we once spent, in this wood. In his house, in the village. Perhaps he is laughing, and clapping a hand on my shoulder, repeating, "My dear friend. My very dear friend" over and over.
Perhaps he is eating supper. Perhaps he is wondering why he is alone. Perhaps he is thinking of me and is regretting a past mistake. Perhaps he is thinking of nothing but the warm meal in front of him.
I look at his wood as it fills with snow, and lament nature's cruelty. I lament the passage of time. I lament this new-found chill that pervades everything.
My horse is covered in flakes. He looks resigned. Perhaps I can learn a lesson from him. Perhaps it is time to depart.
But I still have miles to go before I sleep.