In the winter, I remember, the snow upon the hills,
The sunbeams glancing off a million molecules of white.
Below, the world inverted in the mirror of the loch,
And soaring high above us, Ben Vane’s majestic height.
Imprinted now, precisely, upon the inward eye,
Each tree and branch outlined by frost against an azure sky.
And in the spring, I recollect, such days of vibrant green
As would make our dormant laughter bubble up in childish glee;
Along the River Avon or across the Firth of Clyde
The shooting crops in furrowed fields aslanting to the sea.
And life alive in primroses and daffodils once more,
A snapshot of renewal to delight and reassure.
In the summer, I remember, a day of grey and black,
As rain thrashed down across the boat and turned the sea to stone.
And louring clouds beyond the bow hung heavy on Argyll,
As we made our kindly-welcomed but untimely way to Strone.
And there a home, a warmth, a drink, our misery to assuage;
Nostalgia stock-piled high to stoke the memories of age.
In the autumn, I remember, a day of bronze and gold;
A tumble of the beech and birch beneath our skipping feet;
The speckled bracken strewn beside the russet twisting paths,
As we climbed the loving hillside to a fond memorial seat.
And ever now, a bright autumnal day will bring to mind,
A group above Glen Finlas in the memory enshrined.
But now I’m growing older and with counted days ahead,
And every one more precious than a whole year left behind.
No more the time of childhood, meshed and blurred with long ago,
Nor the busyness of working, now to yesteryear consigned.
And each day lived a smaller part when taken with the sum,
And yet a larger portion of the years that are to come.
And time’s distortion magnifies those days among the hills,
Each hotter, wetter, colder than the photos verify;
Each one seems longer, lovelier, a fusion of content,
More rich, more real, more godly, as the fading years go by.
And all that’s left are booklets, the birthday dossiers,
The much-loved recollections of those oft-remembered days!