Soft clouds hung in layers across the valley this morning, hiding the mountaintops but revealing the middle: the hour-glass field, the mountains’ arms reaching through the mist into the valley, and a gradual clearing to the North where Elmore rises at the end of the range.

It is the first time since Tuesday that I’ve woken rested with a clear head. Last week, clouds clung to the ground, the fog so dense that from our front door even the barn looked blurry.  The air warmed and clouded my head, too, infusing my sinuses with pain, creeping soreness into my throat, swelling my eyes until I could only lift them halfway.

The fog always lifts, though.

We did the chores together this morning, and as I walked to the barn where Edge was feeding out the hay, the morning clouds dissipated and the mountains woke up through the mist.  I stood at the fence with eggs in my hand, watching the sheep around the feeder, their thick fleeces specked with hay as they pulled last summer’s grass through the slats.  Even through last week’s rain, they often chose to stand outside instead of under the barn roof, their fleece so thick and warm they didn’t seem to notice.  Now the clear cold air is returning, and with it the sun.  I look up to see the sky again and imagine trees on the mountaintop, their branches laden with hoar frost, the forest quiet and still but for the wind and the rustling of animals moving across the slopes.