As January lets go its dark and icy grip, passing us, with a smirk, into the often colder clutches of February, the marginally lighter mornings contain surprises that are harbingers of the spring to come.
(440 words. A three minute read)
One of these is what I have come to think of as the ‘winter morning moon’. Often quite high in the sky, the pale gold of this moon combines with the clearness of the winter air to provide a quality of light more associated with the sun.
The course of the moon follows the line of the back of our house. Often, a visit to the bathroom during the night does not require the bathroom light, as the moon’s quiet radiance streams through in the darkest hours. It has surprised me how much more of a ‘moon’ place Cumbria is, compared with my native Lancashire. It may be the quality of the clearer air.
I am usually first up in our household. I empty the dishwasher and make the tea. This gives me a head start on the day – and the all-important time to write. Bernie is not an early morning person and is grateful for the two cups that get her started… We have complementary strengths, which helps when you are both looking after another – my elderly mother.
The Cumbrian winter can be dark, wet and savage but sometimes contains surprises. This morning, turning from the switched-on kettle, I was drawn by the pale gold light of what felt like the sunrise, but had to be the moon. Photographic opportunities can be fleeting, so I swiftly retrieved my iPhone from the still-sleeping bedroom.
The pale gold wasn’t the only joyful object in the sky. The thin, mottled clouds were letting through the awakening blue of what would be a rare clear morning. I jammed the camera into the doorframe and took several shots using ‘night-mode’.
The best one is above.
And then I realised it was the first day of the new month, and the sky seemed filled with the promise of the spring to come, and hopefully some respite from the COVID virus, in the shape of the mass vaccine programme.
One day at a time… Winter is a hard road, but the delight of such a start to the day gives you the sense of not being entirely alone in the struggle.
Happy February! – although it will be the day after by the time this publishes.
©Stephen Tanham, 2021.
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, A journey through the forest of personality to the sunrise of Being.