Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Aspects of the Sunset

On Sunday the sun did its trick again. The paths and the forest were overcast by a gunmetal sky, tinted with the marbling one gets in December, of blues and greys. Then by the forest path that twists around the pines with the little lean to in the middle of all that vivid verdant moss, (the perfect setting for one of our stories), the battleship sky gave way to a thin strip of gold. It had happened before more than once. All the time, whenever on higher ground, the strip of light visible, now to the right, then to the left as the path turned. Sometimes out of sight behind a rise or trees, and then appearing again, steady. It deepened by the time we reached the challenge trail, or rather the Witches' Forest, all plunging stream bed down below into pitch blackness, followed by the Fairy Wood with its delicious pale greens (even now), and then the strip had gone pink, then copper, as we came to the Enchanted Forest, all mystery and splendour, all the way down to Tree Henge, the massive blasted monolith of a tree with its great arms reaching out to encompass, and huge fallen trees and moss covered logs, all dark and livid. The sky turned dazzling gold, as the sun finally lowered into the strip not covered by cloud. And I knew that I was too early - that the soul-uplifting incredulous shafts of copper that would light up the Forest giving to it the reason to call it truly Enchanted, was yet to come. That I would be gone by the time the dream-light came to that place.

And so it was - out of time, when the Sun came out of the cloud fully, I was at the Hawk Observatory. And here was a different view of the sunset altogether! From the intimacy of being inside a favourite painting, the privilege of being at the perfect moment inside one's favourite film, instead all around me were shades of pink and gold, and the copper light lit up the circle that forms the Observatory prominence - our shadows long in the heavenly dark orange light, and in the vales below - one on side where the sun had already set, a hundred shades of pale lilacs, blues, greens, fading into coming mist, and where the sun still lingered, the levels of the hills and the contours of the vales were all rose and peach and damask...the whole place, like the sunset in the Forest below was beyond description or compare.

Today, walking home, far beneath and miles away from the Haldons, but with them and even the Belvedere visible in the distance from some places and parks, there was the same strip of winter sunset - the same overcast sky with its tones of blue or pink just beginning, and the strip of yellow turning to gold. when the sun appeared, I could see that the sun would set on me long before it set on the Belvedere, and I watched that sunset as if in a film - here was the thin light over the city, cut away to the light in the sacred Forest, cut away to the full panorama at the Hawk viewpoint...three views of the same event, and I knew that it would soon be dyeing the Tower pink, and lighting up the dark interior of the wooded path...

Meanwhile it turned many grades of coral and cerise over the church tower and beyond the trees stark as ironwork...

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