Wintering

Winter sweeps in with a blizzard of snow, bleaching from the sky in large flakes.  It has turned colder quickly, but winter is still ambiguous.  It isn’t long before the sun is blazing, melting most of the snow dust away.  The next morning, I walk in the country park.  Up here, paths still crunch with a thin layer of day-old snow.  The pond is frozen.  Mallards congregate at the liquid edge but waddle over the ice when a man offers bread.  The blush of the sunrise is trapped in the ice.

Corvids perch high in the trees, dark silhouettes against a sky striped pink and blue.  I crunch to the sundial, where an orange sunrise gilds the gnomon.  A magpie perches at its peak but flies off at my approach.  Silver birch trunks glint around the park.  A charm of goldfinches flutters by.  Bird song is muted but for the chuckle of a magpie, perhaps the same one that has just flown away.  Winter always seems to be the season of corvids and it is as though the other creatures are sensibly tucked away while they sit and survey their fiefdom.

Winter remains on the morning of the lunar eclipse, though now the landscape is rimed with the glitter of frost, not snow.  On the last eclipse a thunderstorm rode in and obscured the sky.  After tonight, there won’t be another for two years.  But as I wake at 4am, the night is crisp and clear.  The moon is there, high in the west.  It will be totality in half an hour or so.  For the moment, the full moon has shrunk to a crescent.  As the earth’s shadow covers it, the crescent becomes a sphere again but it is no longer the brightest thing in the sky.  A rosy hue creeps over its base while its top is luminous.

Soon, the red glow appears.  It is a soft red, through which the darkened craters are still visible.  For an hour the moon is garnet, rather than diamond.  Half way through, a blackbird begins to sing, serenading the blood moon with his mournful song.  As it comes to an end, the blackbird pauses his singing.  The top of the moon becomes brighter and brighter still, as though it is wearing a trilby of light.  It is beginning to sink now, moving northwards.  The trilby becomes a crescent and the earth’s shadow begins to retreat, slowly uncovering the full moon once more.  The blackbird is singing again and the human world is waking.  A plane flies over, a Metro rumbles past, I hear the intermittent sound of cars.  For me, it is time to go back to bed, and the moon, having given its display, will soon slumber too.

 

92 thoughts on “Wintering

  1. Your knowledge of the natural world is a lovely gift to share with us. The magic of your words take us into that world with you. Thoroughly enjoyed the walk to your sundial and watching the lunar eclipse.

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  2. Another wonderful post that shows your love of words and how creatively you use them to sing songs to nature.
    I have had an ongoing romance with words since I was a child. Just one reason I await your posts with anticipation.

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  3. A special moment beautifully captured. I was tucked up in my bed that early morning, but the clouds had hidden the show from us anyway.

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  4. Love seeing your world through your eyes and words. 🙂 Your posts always make me think I need to pay closer attention to what is happening–or not happening–around me. I bet I would be in for a treat!

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  5. Hello Andrea, from your writing, I sensed that you’re feeling better, that’s good.
    Your obvious knowledge of nature, and your awareness of what’s going on around you, coupled with the ability to paint with words, always make a special read. This one is no exception, lovely.
    Keep warm, keep well.
    Mick.

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  6. Ahh… Andrea, this is beautiful and full of magic, capturing the essence of the red moon moment! You are connected to the moon, it to you … total and absolute peace and harmony, then the birds, other sounds wake you back to earth, back to bed for some well-earned rest! Having seen many images of the red moon last week, yours is my favourite, a glimmer of colour in the vast blackness, all alone, starting to shine bright!

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    • Thanks Vicky, yes it must have been a strange and terrible/wonderful thing – I often wish we had some of that innocence so that we wouldn’t know what everything means, but then again I love to know more about everything, so it’s exciting to know what is happening too.

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  7. No such winter for us this year…record warmth as a matter of fact, which is too bad because I enjoy crisp walks in the snow….thank you for taking me along on your beautiful journey.

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  8. It was a magical eclipse. I stayed out for 15 minutes, then ran back inside to warm up for a few minutes. Then back out for 15 minutes. I did this from 10 pm until 12:30 am. It was frigid here that night, but I wouldn’t have missed that rosy lunar spectacle for anything. Pretty pictures of snow and corvid silhouettes, Andrea.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your winter walk. The cold reached my bones as I read your words. Corvids are certainly very assertive at this time of year. It’s a tough season for wildlife and I’ve seen a few mad scrambles for food and one fight between chicken and magpie in my poultry paddock. This week, I’ve been enjoying massive flocks of starlings gathering in the trees around our field. 🙂

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  10. I’m glad you had a chance to see the special moon, Andrea. I admit to being a slothful slug who tried to see it from our windows and didn’t, really. It was absolutely freezing outside, I was in my pyjamas, and I chickened out. (That’s two animal references in this reply to your lovely post.)

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  11. I so enjoyed this nighttime visit outdoors and the elegant lunar eclipse, Andrea. Where I live it was stormy and cloudy, so no eclipse; but no problem because I just lived it here with you. Your descriptions, word choices, and observations were mellow and easily absorbed. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you for this poetic picture of the eclipse, Andrea. I didn’t get to see the totality this time. The cloud came before the red hues appeared, which is a pity since I was watching the celestial event from my kitchen window, in my pyjamas (4-5 AM), very comfortably 🙂

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  13. Sharing early morning peace and quiet with the moon sounds great, and then back to your warm bed when the world awakens. I love the snow photo, with the perfectly places benches.

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  14. Such a haunting photo of that eclipse. I ventured outside to watch it, despite the -23C temperature. I was alone with it in my wilderness. My camera wouldn’t work in the cold, so no photos from me, but the memory hasn’t subsided.

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  15. How lovely, Andrea. I love the crows. Late afternoon the other day, I heard this intermittent burbly kind of sound outside my window. I was sure if I went outside I’d find a new frog in the puddles from the snow melting and since it was 56 degrees. But when I went out, I heard a loud CAW! and the black-winged “frog” flew away and out of the branches of the 70′ tall blue spruce. Such clever creatures. Always good to walk with you.

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  16. Those moon photos are amazing! I was more of a star lover for as long as I can remember. Last October we stayed at our friend’s house on the Oregon Coast with a bunch of close friends. We had a bonfire on the beach, watched the sunset, and then the moon poked up.

    Perfectly clear night, and I sat on the porch and majorly connected with the moon. I may have been having a little fun (wink, wink)—so my moon had a face and a top hat. He was a jaunty, dashing moon man. Ever since that night, I started checking the sky to say hello. We have a lot of clouds now, but I saw him last night.

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