Hinoiri ひのいり basks in the sunlight
beneath the reflection of blue sky
and overhead branches reflecting from
the surface of heated water on a cold day.
New Cedar fence boards were used to construct
four new beds for Strawberries, Raspberries,
Blackberries, and Rhubarb …
… but cold nights leave a hard frost
which means that even strong morning sunlight
requires until almost mid-day
before the soil is softened enough,
to allow any plants to be introduced
into the waiting loam of their new garden beds.
Stronger sun, however, does warm the earth,
which releases the first shoots of Galanthus …
and Crocus …
and brings the first buds to the trees …
However cold the nights, the nishikigoi
bask in the comparative luxury
of their heated pool – in water kept
some 40 degrees Fahrenheit warmer
than the air in which I am standing
to compose this photograph.
Here, hinoiri and kurosan pause
moments before hitting the surface of the water
to let me know that the fish are waiting
for their breakfast …
Whilst the temperature is forecast to drop
below freezing for the next week,
not one of them – in a pool four-fifths covered,
will be the slightest bit aware
of anything but the blue sky above
– and my blue finger-tips
that deliver their three meals every day.
Still – (clearly able to sense my foot-fall
as I close the back door of the house) –
there is something remarkably heart-warming
about approaching the water
to find seven waiting faces
in rapt anticipation.