My daughter appeared for supper this evening in a souwester. She wasn’t, apparently, ‘dressing for dinner’ – in fact, she announced, ‘I’m going for a walk’. Idiosyncratic timing on her part as always, but I hardly felt I could quash such determined enthusiasm, so – ‘Why not?’ – I pulled on wellies and a coat and we ventured out for a stroll in the dark. It turned out to be a brilliant idea. With no moon to speak of and a good cover of cloud, the darkness transformed the garden – it was unknown, unchartered territory… we were explorers. Inevitably, our halogen torch was like a wild searchlight in the hands of my three-year-old. To begin with it swung about dazzling the garden, but then, at intervals, it landed for a rest on sites of specific interest. As we walked, following the torchlight, our garden became a series of textured cameos: the jagged ends of wood in the woodpile, the moss on a tree trunk, a spider on the snowdrops which hadn’t gone to bed, the needles on the denuded Christmas tree, the broken slate under our feet… We spoke little, paused regularly to take in a texture, phenomenon, seen anew, seemingly out of context, its background fallen away. It was fascinating. The circle of bright light from the torch pulled us in. It gave the sense of looking through a microscope – acutely focussing our attention, casting each ‘catch’ into stark relief, making even the background sounds of the garden seemingly disappear. And it was my daughter’s hand guiding me, my eyes. For those brief few minutes before supper, I saw things through her eyes – the torch allowed her to show me her world.