Monday, December 22, 2008

Crepuscular thoughts

'Crepuscular' - what a fantastic word to roll around one's tongue at the end of a gloomy December afternoon. My dictionary confirms that it means 'Resembling or relating to twilight'. I find it hard to shake off the feeling that it might be a good description for a pock-marked cartoon planet. Whatever. I am having midwinter crepuscular thoughts.

It's 4.20pm. Twilight and the light is fading fast; in fact the landscape is imbued with an eerie, curious and sulphurous glow. The land is sodden under my boots, our sticky clay oozes water. It's hard to love this time of year.

Across the field, in the dark fastness of Badnage wood, I can hear the panicked calls of pheasants as they launch themselves up into the swaying conifers and out of the reach of foxy jaws.

My hens - I have come to shut them into their huts for the night - have already taken themselves indoors. They are making what I take to be argumentative hen-talk - clucks and squawks - as they jostle for pole position on the perch. I have a stern word or two with the cockerels. They have been crowing at 5.00 in the morning for heaven's sake - a time when birds should surely have their heads under their wings. Dawn's earliest light is then still at least 2 hours hence.

Yesterday of course was the shortest day of the year - the day when the sun reached its lowest point in the sky, the Winter Solstice. The thought of the days now getting longer is a cheering one - although I suspect we'll get to February before we notice the difference.With hens shut in I trudge back up to the house. It's bedecked for Christmas with greenery and sparkling baubles. Our pretty tree's fairy lights are reflected into infinity by the glass of the garden room and the stove is set, ready to put a match to - soon orange tongues of flame will lick the darkness.

What bliss, the magic of fire in winter's deepest days - light and warmth. I shall sit for a while and watch the night descend before putting on my party frock to attend some latter day Saturnalian revels - the first of many Christmas parties. Mulled wine here we come....

11 comments:

Lindsay said...

Have a good Christmas! Love your last post.

lampworkbeader said...

Have a geat time at the party. The dark evenings always send me a little mad. Not my best time of the year, so it's good to think that the days are getting lighter.

Arosebyanyothername said...

Lovely imagery. I wish I had an open fire - we only have central heating - but I know they are more work. I love the dark winter evenings - I seem to get so much more done.
Have a good Christmas and enjoy those parties.

Diary Farmer said...

You should notice the days starting to lengthen from January 10th onwards. Both of you have a good Christmas up there in the mountain Kingdom of Trelystan. Mrs D F and I are off to the chaos and noise of eight children in Asterley

LittleBrownDog said...

Lovely word, crepuscular. Sums this shadowy time of year up perfectly.

Wishing you well for the winter solstice and all the very best for the coming year.

xxxx

Frances said...

What a wonderful wintery post. I like the way that you note the shortness of the day.

In the streets of New York, we note it differently at the shop. We usually put the lock on the door when it gets dark (and let customers in by a click of our magic electronic clickers) but we still want the dark to arrive at a familiar hour. For this and the next few weeks to come, we need to remind each other to look at the streetscene just outside our front window.

Can you see the folks walking past? No, well, please lock the door and take your clicker into your hand.

All this time, it is the eve of Christmas Eve.

Your tree is lovely. Happy Christmas@

ChrisH said...

Ooh, lovely writing. And very nice tree. Enjoy your Christmas, Cx

Nikki-ann said...

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! All the best :)

Faith said...

Mmm you are right about the magic of fire. I'd actually forgotten it was the shortest day!

Pondside said...

What a beautiful tree - and what a beautiful post. Merry Christmas!

elizabethm said...

LOvely post m, and love your tree too.