When they leave the church, the last light is vanishing into the sky, and a stray snowflake drifts along towards the south. They remount; it has been a long day; his clothes feel heavy on his back. He doesn’t believe the dead need our prayers, nor can they use them. But anyone who knows the Bible as he does, knows that our God is a capricious God, and there’s no harm in hedging your bets. When the woodcock flew up in its flash of reddish brown, his heart had knocked hard. As they rode he was aware of it, each beat a heavy wing-beat; as the bird found the concealment of trees, its tracing of feathers inked out to black.