In the spring, when the fresh new blades of green grass began to poke through the melting snow, they would always return; the summer walkers, the travellers, the tinkers, the showman — the Gypsies.
You could smell them in the air; hear them on the wind. They would arrive in droves during the night like ghosts in the dark – a thousand ants fanning out over the farmland on the east bank of Loch Ness between Lochend and Inverness.
They camped until late fall after the harvest, and after the monies were paid, and just before the smell of snow became apparent in the cold air. Then, they would disappear, like ghosts again, escaping in the night.
The winters are quiet and cold. Dead. Unrelenting. All consuming. When I thought it will would never end and that the world had plunged into an eternal winter, life took hold of the frozen earth, and I knew it wouldn’t be long until the Gypsies returned.