Sat by the fire he sank further into his velvet armchair. He wanted a moment to truly enjoy it but his head was disorder and elsewhere. The clock on the mantlepiece ticked onwards, striking half past ten and then eleven. How he hated the chimes when they were numerous, especially if he was listening to the radio. Outside the world was silent; the earth knew and understood this silence as did the cold mud as did the tree: stripped of its colour yet not of its knowledge. So he sat by the fire, the perfect image of winter contentment, like a painting, yet he wasn’t content – his thoughts were the sparks leaping to the hearth, each glowing ember replacing another. All that was needed was a pause, a counting of breaths and he too could join them all, the fire, the earth, the mud and the tree, be the man in a painting in a state of enduring wisdom.