Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Ransoms along the Cotswold Way

Two more days than it will all be over - thank goodness, everyone will rush out to the sales and life will return to normal. The year has turned the corner, and the days will slowly become light again. Flowers will return, emerging from under the dark soggy leaves. I cannot wait for the return of flowers, the last winter rose hangs forlornly on the trellis but soon there will primroses, ice cold snowdrops, the mauve crocuses with yellow hearts that have been spreading slowly over the years. Dark tips of tulips push up from the earth, hanging catkins from the hazel tree.
This last weekend has been cold, but with marvellous skies in the morning. Dawn, that spiritual time between dark and light is extraodinarily beautiful at this time of year. The great wide skies viewed from the Downs, is a slowly changing painting of colour and shape. The full moon on Saturday, illuminated by the rising sun, had a soft rose pink hue, so different from its cold white colour, it was almost a pale sister of the the sun. Both sun and moon figure together during the winter months, the sun never quite managing to push the moon out of the sky.
The skies this morning were a soft pink and blue smudged across as if somone had thrown a paintbrush of water down, underlined by gray horizontal clouds. From the west dark rain clouds obliterate the softer colours, and the marvellous half hour of the sky lit up by the rising orange sun will disappear, and gray cloudy conditions will prevail but this magical time can be stored in the mind for now.
Twice over the weekend I have seen the golden plovers leaving their night nesting ground, they rise as one, perfect timing makes their flight an aerobatic wonder, the sound of their wings as they fly overhead is a soft swoosh but you can just hear the sound of an individual wingbeat and the sweet solitary call of - who knows - perhaps their leader.
Propped on my window is a print of "The Uffington Parade" and I am reminded of hares and Wayland Smith and the White Horse that gallops across the hills away from his Manger. She might belong to the goddess Epona, a swift sure footed creature, symbol of power and freedom, the wild exhultation of the wind and the sweetly flowered pastures that she gallops over, summer in full riot, in the print the sun merges with the moon as does the night and day sky and stars float haphazardly over Silbury, the long linking Ridgeway melding the wondrous act of nature with long dead people who over the centuries have created this small piece of the Earth.

Bluebells in the hedgerow

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