Sunday 27 March 2016

Subtlety & Softness: A Quiet Landscape

The week ends with a storm building. The wind rattles round the house. The sky is dark. Rain is on the way. Before this the weather has been quiet with cloudy skies and gentle breezes. There has been little sunshine for days. And little rain. Just a soft grey light. Some might call it dull and certainly it lacks the bright immediacy of strong sunlight or the excitement of a big storm. But there is beauty in the softness. You just have to look closely. The layers of the landscape run into the distance in different shades and densities of faded colours. Hints of green and brown catch the eye. The clouds are layered too, white and grey and black. The distant snow-streaked mountains are hazy and insubstantial when visible at all.

The coming spring is barely visible. Again you have to look closely. At a glance the land is still wintry and bare. But buds are appearing on the trees and tiny green shoots on the ground. That it’s spring is most evident from sounds not sights though. The woods ring with bird calls. In the fields oystercatchers shriek, curlews bubble and the distinctive ‘peewit’ of lapwings is everywhere. They know the season is changing.

One day at dusk the sun broke momentarily through the clouds, sending a shaft of brightness across the tops of the trees. A few seconds later it was gone. Above blue patches of sky showed before the clouds closed in again.

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