The first snow of winter

We woke this morning to a world made white with snow. It had fallen during the night, silent and soft, a winter ghost haunting the forest and fields. We stood and shivered in the cloister and gazed out at the garth. Snow garlanded the branches of the old walnut tree and buried the herb beds. Brother John could not resist walking from one side of the cloister to the other, just to see the prints of his boots in the snow. Later, as I went about my daily chores, I noticed another set of prints, small and hob-shaped, passing twice around the walnut tree and scampering off towards the north alley. A glance at the sky told me there would be more snow before long. I hope it falls before anyone notices the strange small footprints and wonder what creature made  them.

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