1 December 2016
As we rise over the plateau’s edge the pale grey morning mist of all works divides. Upper thin and tenuous, being burnt away whilst struggling for a gossamer presence. Below a whiter, thicker, denser mantle lies across the land. Between these two, globular and pulsing slower than you believe, blood-red, cloud shrouded to a blood cell disc, mother sun looks on.
2 December 2016
At ground a thin layer of deep cold, as if it had a different atmosphere to higher strata. Feet and paws feel something different to hands and noses. Hard shards of grass balancing rigid leaves, through soft white fronds of glinting evergreens to bare branches bathed in sunlight.
3 December 2016
Wind still asleep is softly sighing last night’s lullaby to the trees. Stirred by sun builds to lifting leaves and furtive flurries. Woken from her beauty sleep drives sharp gusts at gaps mid cloth and skin. Roused to a little rage breaks a branch from off its bough as dogs tuck tails tight in fear of losing them. Then in a moment, exit unseen and overlooked, she is gone, all silent, nowhere to be heard or seen.
4 December 2016
Night mist has failed to blanket anything; some hint at trees on the horizon, but thin. Bitter cold has not dusted sparkle on tips of grass nor left fallen leaves their night time’s crunch. Wind has failed to attend, hopefully having found somewhere else to whistle. Trees stand, mainly naked, and drip on unsuspecting travellers.
5 December 2016
The birds were out last night. Giant metal birds scrawling contrails across a clear blue sky. Straight lines from place to other place that curve a net about the world, casually cross hatched as if by a child doodling on a board. And the moment written they begin to fade, to dissipate, to disappear, but not to go away.
6 December 2016
Lacklustre. No wind, no breath of air, just a chill into the lungs. No rays of sunshine to sharpen shadows and glisten amongst the dew. No texture in the grass. No coarseness in the leaves lying comatose. No grain in the uneven earth. Movement in the water, but quiet, subdued, as if sitting forlornly in life’s waiting room. Or soft. Sun rises, changes, softens. Soft? Yes, soft.
7 December 2016
More than mist and not yet fog. Where is the line, boundary, border between words? One gravitates seamlessly into other, each sunstep altering perspective. What fence, wall, curtain divides here, where water haze hangs magically in the air, from there, where all is shrouded by that dread poison di-hydrogen monoxide?
8 December 2016
Winter has a thinner pallet. Spring gives us rich deep greens; acid, lime, olive, emerald. Summer feeds us plump reds; pink; rosy; scarlet, burgundy; icings of blues, yellows and rarer shades. Autumn feasts our eyes wide ranging browns; russet, chocolate, auburn, bronze. Winter has greens and browns, but not the scope of other times. And white. Winter has white, stretching from pale grey to brilliant. Winter has a tighter pallet.
9 December 2016
A bauble hanging in the Milky Way, but close. Eight minutes close and obliterating all sense and image of the rest of nature’s sky decorations. Bloodshot reds and oranges, golden haired yellow. No surprise that Turner had to paint it and humankind to worship it.
10 December 2016
Nettled remains of summer glory twist tendrils in the hedgerows, veins constricted as they curl up for warmth. Brambled barbs wait for prey to melt the frost. Once proud stands of grass, crouch down to shrink away the cold. Lone dead leaf, weighted with icy dew, tears itself from twig and falls unflatteringly to earth.
11 December 2016
A sort of silence. Water tumbles over stones, mumbling to the birds; who converse, in whispers, one to one to one, not summer squawks but undertones and mutterings barely heard by grounded beasts. Maybe deer or boar but more like something smaller that fumbles through the undergrowth as silently as they dare the dogs to find them. And the fluttering of a falcon hitting ground, bloody prey within its beak. It rises to a post scrabbling for some dignity and we stand apart eyeing each other and considering the corpse.
12 December 2016
Humidity. That oh so sweet, sweet scent at the end of a dry journey. Grass tips wet with but a smear of dew. Solitary drops hang lightly from bare twigs. Leaves lie damp, soft and soggy. Thin growth, nettles, brambles, grasses still pulse quietly, pumping upward, working to stand still. Trees, augmented year by year, re-running the annual cycle have left their sap to settle for the winter.
13 December 2016
More than mist; a palpable fog has inveigled itself into everything from ground to sky. A standing wave hangs on the valley’s opposite slope, edged by fenceposts that seem to hug and hold it as well as mark a border. Sun is rising, heating, burning hazy layers. An hour or a little more and murk has gone, evaporated, leaving clear, if pale, blue; with clouds casting a mackerel sky.
14 December 2016
Dim light to west and dimmer east, falling and rising. East sees a deepening blue sky trapped by cold trees standing stark as soldiers. West holds an old white moon wrapped in clouds, morning’s thin swaddling, that is sinking into the kind embrace of branches softly lit. The carefree sun, still unseen, smears red across the other side of sky announcing daybreak’s twilight ended.
15 December 2016
Grey rooftops stretch out an overcast terrain. Grey branches range against an ashen backcloth. A sky so bleak and leaden as only England offers. Dark, drab, dull and dismal, stretching from zenith to nadir. Linen over-washed until its whiteness wastes away. Grave and gloomy, steel and sombre, swathed in melancholy. Oh England, oh my England.
16 December 2016
Fumes and steel, brakes and glares of traffic with their desolate and solitary angers. A baby’s face alive, alight, smiling through the coughs and colds and generations spreading hope and joy and perseverance. The river of the world is at the edge, the roar is growing and time has all but run away.
17 December 2016
Fog greys down on brick and tile and parking slab. Splay of herringbone, politely laid; granite and limestone, proclaiming ownership; and crazy paving, mixed stones failing to fully hold the earth as flat as was intended, letting weeds germinate in cracks. Hopping from one remaining branch to other a pair of parakeets, the only available green, banned from gardens neatly mown and firmly fenced, squawk and screech. Immigrants that will re-green urban England with their droppings?
18 December 2016
Chrome, linoleum, tile, the stench of cleanliness scoured deep and hiding in the grout. Bright lights dispel the dark night that reigns outside. Earnest workers buzz, urine is transported. Wait in the small hours for x-rays and for acronyms we hope we understand. Frustrated at communication’s surly silence. Update from Allepo hits my dying phone. World smacks me in the face with perspective.
19 December 2016
Six birds expectant in the upmost branches of an unleaved tree. Pigeons perhaps pausing between sojourns for troublesome insects, lost seeds and the scraps of aging roadkill. Or urban vultures conversing quietly whilst awaiting prey. Will wings spread and swoop on an unsuspecting passerby, wrapped warmly against the outside world, or descend upon a cat slinking home in the dawn, belly plumped with midnight feasting?
20 December 2016
Wake to the cry of seagulls calling. Calling me?
21 December 2016
Home. Cold ground, hard uneven, gentler on the joints than tips and trips of transubstantiated paving slabs. Home. Water rushes not through drains but gurgles round river’s meandering banks. Home. Leaves lie unmanaged where they fell waiting for the wind to invite them to a waltz or foxtrot. Home.
22 December 2016
Drizzle. Is that the best that you can do? Yesterday belonged to master sun, shortest day and longest night tugging at the imaginations of the world. Today is yours and all we get is drizzle. Half a year until another solstice. Half a year to warm and grow and green, till he steals the limelight once again.
23 December 2016
Muted. Exhausted with the exertion of the turning of the year. Greens are softer paler less distinct. Water mumbles faintly over stones and wanders past the banks with gentle steps. Browns and blacks of trunks and branches are mellowed to subtle shades. Calls of birds are hushed, less screech and caw, subdued suggestions of the possibility of speech.
24 December 2016
Three drops upon a single twig. One shallow, staying close to bark, clinging like a babe to mother. Another bulkier, absorbing undue influences and abstracting into an uncertain adolescence. The largest all but spherical, gravity and surface tension holding balance, braces for the plunge as it prepares to leave.
25 December 2016
Quiet. There are sounds I know, distant, gentle; birds call as if mothers hushing children. Listen to the quiet: to discreet pad of paw on ground; to unobtrusive swirl of water as it slips round bends; and to the soft life of plants breathing beneath the litter, never knowing if they will bloom and burst upon the world or wither and die beneath the neat mulch we have tidied over them.
26 December 2016
Life is drawn with the finest of silver spider threads pulled haphazardly from twig to every other twig. Not masterpieces of the weavers’ art. No great intertwined concentric circles stretched from branch to post, from bush to bramble. No monster waiting at the centre of the web to sting and wrap her unsuspecting prey.
27 December 2016
First light. Thin blue fluoresces across the sky, yet unwarmed from the east. Seeing discloses little, shapes and shadows, a blur of branches. Looking requires focus, care and concentration to let details reveal themselves. A second gaze held and then held longer lets the colours fill the space.
28 December 2016
Bright. Bright light. Crisp and chill and clear. A winter quiet barely disturbed by paws on frosted grass. Broken, torn asunder, shredded by the squeal of joy that can only be a child alive in all her innocence.
29 December 2016
Chill frost. All manner of mist iced out and everything left with hard edges. Shadows are clear and clean; the line of a tree lying stretched across the grass as precise as the original. Leaves distinctly drawn with an edge of ice that sparkles in the rising sun. Yesterday’s footsteps frozen in the ground.
30 December 2016
Landscape is monochromed silver. Giants have spent the night blowing stardust through the woods, settling it on every twig of every branch and every spider thread on every twig. Bushes enfolded in bleached blankets, dried out thistles and abandoned teasels highlighted with winter white.
31 December 2016
Fine spray of water from a frozen pipe banishes all other thoughts.