As twilight comes, the street lamp across the street begins to sway back and forth. The trees begin to dance. A storm of leaves and dust are swept up into the air, swirling past my first floor office window, occasionally slapping the glass. Biting sleet accompanies me on the walk home. Storm Arwen has brought a rare ‘red’ weather warning, advising of potential loss of life due to flying debris. We are told to stay away from the coast and not to travel if we can avoid it. All night the wind roars. There are occasional bangs and crashes. But we are lucky, with no more than a few overturned things in the yard. A buddleia has swept out of a neighbour’s yard into the lane. A yard wall has collapsed across the road. In the park, a tree sized bough of the poplar has sheared off and now balances in the canopy. Pavements are heaped with golden leaves, twigs and red berries, like seasonal offerings. That afternoon, wind is replaced by snow – the first of the winter – a light dusting that soon turns to ice.

In these dark days of winter, routine lies heavily on my shoulders. I struggle out of bed in darkness to the daily routines of washing, dressing, breakfast. It is just getting light when I take Winston for his walk and on our return I go to the library, where the daily routines of work begin. The storm is a welcome distraction for me, after the third warmest autumn on record and settled weather, but not for those deprived of power for weeks to come. Now the landscape is damp. Soggy leaves. Twigs and branches vivid with lichen. The damp accentuates the colours: vibrant greens of ivies and ferns, rich browns of leaves and bark. The trees are suddenly leafless, but a party of wood pigeons has found something to feed on, on an evergreen across the railway tracks. Hidden sparrows chirp in the privet, starlings call from the trees above.

Mid month there is another break to routine. l have a meeting at headquarters which means a sunrise visit to the country park across the road. By the time I arrive, the sky has already blushed orange and subsided to a subtle blue. The sun is a molten semi-circle, just peeping over the horizon. The landscape is dull and water-logged. Clumps of drooping brown grass, mud stippled with paw prints, spongy patches of moss. A few stubborn leaves cling to bare stems. I hear a plaintive seep now and again, but the birds are well hidden, until a trio of goldfinches flutter overhead.

Gorse leads me up to the sundial, spiky green stems that give no hint of their luminosity in other seasons. I have to shield my eyes when I reach the top of the hill. The sun is almost a complete circle now, breathing fire. There is a hint of orange to the gnomon, the shadow of a bench crossing it. The sundial has been painted and cleaned. It will be part of a new memorial to those lost to the pandemic, linking art works at the four compass points along what were once waggon ways crossing the borough.

I hear robins singing. To north and west, the distant hills are layered with mist. The sun begins to catch the landscape, turning sea and clouds to pastels. The ferry is on its way into port from Amsterdam and the sun lights it pale orange. A metro crossing the fields reflects copper. There is now a dividing line in the park. Below it, the trees remain a dull brown, but above it, they glow bronze.

I walk down to the pond, past wild carrot nests and alders studded with cones. Guelder rose berries and rosehips gleam at the edge of the water. Mallards, moorhens and a tufted duck float on a pond that reflects the sunrise reflected from the surrounding buildings.

Later that day, there is unanticipated news. My story ‘The Muse’ has been published by Toasted Cheese Literary Magazine. Inspired by stories of foundlings, it is a story about identity, that you can read HERE. I also get some more great feedback from an assessment of my novel. In these last days of December, my routine is being disrupted in the best of ways. There will be many more dark, dispiriting days before spring but I hope for a touch of the unexpected to spur me through them.

78 thoughts on “Disrupting

  1. Andrea, your writing is your gift to us. Each lyrical word resonates. Congratulations on you writing accolades. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a Covid free world to all of us. ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ€๐Ÿฅณ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad to know that Arwen did not hurt you and of course, since then Barra has hit these shores too! Warm wishes to you this winter solstice (21st). Keep well and safe ๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ


  3. Beautiful post, Andrea. So you were caught up by the storm Arwen. I saw the news and it was bad for many. Yet you had the courage to go out for your long nature walk and give us such a fantastic feeling of being there.

    Your pictures are wonderful and adds to your tale about the walk.
    Congratulations to having your story โ€˜ The Museโ€™ published. Will go back and read it now. ๐ŸŒŸ.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrea, what a beautiful piece you have written for Toasted Cheese – beautiful in every way. Congratulations. I love Claudette’s story – I feel that I know her and can never know her. It’s perfect. And for the walk to work and your meeting and all we encounter … so much change, so much hidden. These moments, being published, getting positive feedback, are, indeed, the bright spots that light our way through dark winter days and routine. Thanks, as always, for sharing.


  5. Andrea, your depiction of the dark days of this time of year, the storm, the monument to those whose lives have been lost all drew me in immediately.
    The Museโ€”a riveting story with so many connecting points that invite further questions and reflection. Congratulations on its publication. Wishing you and your loved ones (human and furry) a warm and healthy Holiday Season.


  6. I donโ€™t know why your posts arenโ€™t showing up in my reader anymore, but Iโ€™m glad I came to your site! I have missed reading your vivid descriptions. Thank you for sharing this with us and I look forward to hearing more about the book. ๐Ÿ˜Œ


  7. Hello, Andrea. It was a real treat and a pleasure to read your post. It’s fantastic news about getting your work published. Well deserved I say. Top Tip: Point the champers bottle away from your eyes when you open it.:)
    Autumn was beautiful here in Wales, the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It was breathtaking. But along came Arwen, like a jealous, spiteful bully, and in the blink of an eye wiped it clean from the landscape.
    Seasons Greetings to you, Andrea. Give Winston a pat on the head for me, please.
    Take care.


  8. Andrea, I’m glad you were safe through the storm and it was horrendous how so many thousands spent days without power, especially as the cold and snow arrived then!

    Wow, the sundial is an incredible and striking monument, your photos of it bathing in morning sunlight are beautiful. I am slightly astounded that a memorial is already being built regarding the Pandemic as we are still in its midst.

    Yeah! Congratulations on your publication – just off to read it and fingers crossed for your novel – promising so far. I am sure there will be many unexpected moments before the Spring. Wishing you a peaceful and harmonious Christmas and all the best for the New Year!


  9. Congratulations on the lovely disruptions that have come your way, Andrea! Your beautiful words washed over me reminding me of the recent storms that lashed our shores…we are one day past the solstice and light will slowly return chasing away the damp and dark…
    I hope you all have a cozy and very happy Christmas!


  10. What a story, Andrea! For all the ambiguity of โ€œClaudetteโ€™sโ€ circumstances I was left with such a powerful image of her. And this was a wonderful ramble with you. Iโ€™m inspired to propose a sundial memorial here, tooโ€ฆ


  11. Your “Muse” story is magnificent. I loved it and hung on to every word. You have an incredible talent. Congrats on the publication. And this post – ah, yes, I feel the tone in my bones as I look out my window at the icy end-of-December rains.


  12. I am caught up now, and have enjoyed your walks from late autumn in winter here. I hope Arwen was kinder to you than she was to other areas.

    Thank you for the link, Andrea. The Muse is a beautiful piece of writing.


  13. Always I come away from reading your posts as if I too have just walked with you breathing in the air as your gentle narrative soothes the soul as you notice the little things along the way..
    Always a delight to visit and explore with you Andrea… Have a wonderful New Earth Year.. May she be birthed in Natures Natural Balm of Healing in Body Mind and Spirit ..
    Love and Blessings for 2022.. โค


  14. Congratulations on your latest publication, The Muse. A powerful story that leaves a stain. And I loved the journey you took us through your neighbourhood. I am glad you got home unscathed ๐Ÿ™‚


  15. This post didnโ€™t show up in my Reader. So glad I stopped by to check on you. Congratulations on the publication. Toasted Cheese has been around for a long time. I wish you a luminous 2022, Andrea.๐Ÿ™‚


  16. Andrea, I love the story! Congratulations on the pub. The voice pulled me in so far that I think I was leaning into the computer. I could sense remnants of some of the classic first-person suspense narrators in it. Then that surprising ending! I was not prepared for that. Wonderful!


  17. Congratulations on the publication of your story. I found it an interesting, engaging take on the foundling story and beautifully crafted. Always enjoy sharing your walks too. Thanks for continuing to inspire. Wishing you a very happy 2022.


  18. How wonderfully cyclical life is for those of who write. Days of anticipation and rejection are followed by light of some sort. Congratulations on the publishing of Muse. May the new year bring you more inspiration.


  19. Congratulations on the Muse, well deserved, and best of luck with your novel.

    Another wonderfully engrossing and immersive account. What a lovely tribute to COVID victims that sundial will be.

    You were lucky with Storm Arwen. There are lots of fine old trees down around here, and we were without electricity for five days!


  20. Winter is a difficult time for so many people…including myself. We had an unusual amount of snow fall already during this time. Snow fell for over a week day and night and then took another week to melt and the melt was slow. We have also had more rain than usual and now there are flood watches and this morning caution due to mud slides. I was born in the sunshine state of California but have lived in Washington state since I was 25…a lifetime of so many dreary days. But, in spite of it all, I had cataract surgery on both of my eyes and no longer have to wear glasses after 59yrs of wearing them. Congratulations on your being published. It is too difficult in the US to get published due to so many people now online that write so you have to be especially good at your craft. It’s that or self publish and I have come to the resolve that my Blog will have to suffice. I will read what you have written through your link. Take good care. The sun will eventually shine.


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