She stood staring at the sky and with one deep breath the arctic air slashed the back of her windpipe.
She had almost to close her eyes to see their forms in the upper field as the sun seared the earth.
The wild geese had been there for days, nestled in the higher ground, feeding from the tilled soil and waiting – just waiting.
Every year they came and every year their presence caused a stirring in her heart. She felt right again. She felt needed.
She painted pictures of them as they fed in the field, she sketched their flight and sometimes she just smiled. She listened to their cries and more than once she was sure they called her name.
The geese swept in formation over her house and bestowed upon her a victory wave as she lay in bed, grasping her bedcover whilst looking from her window.
On the morning that she never woke again, the geese prepared themselves to take to the skies; to head home and to carry another soul to that resting place in the far, far north.
They had got what they had come for.
To Sheila, Merry Christmas.