Darkness falls and the fires are lit

I am sure that when I lived in a city winter was never this dark!  The clocks went back this weekend and suddenly the glorious extended autumn hit the buffers.  I looked out of the window at half past five, the lights having been on in the house for ages, and saw the black night.  Partly it is the totally welcome absence of light pollution here.  Stand in just the right place on our land and you can see the faint amber smudge of light which is Mold to the East but turn your back on that and the valley is very black.  You can't see the line of the ridge opposite or of the ancient hillforts to the west against the sky.  Look up and on a clear night you can see stars, but wander around and it is can't-see-the-hand-in-front-of your-face dark on nights when the moon is, as tonight, a waxing crescent.  It is close to total darkness.

We go out to the pub for a meal, driving our narrow lanes between the high hedges.  In the headlights the browns and golds of the last of the bracken shine out at the edge of the road.  Where beech trees line the lanes the leaves pile up in russet drifts.  It is easier to drive these lanes in darkness. Oncoming headlights alert you well in time for you to find the place to tuck in by the hedge to let the other vehicle come by.  We round a corner and see the remains of a badger, caught unawares crossing the road.  It feels as if we have dropped into another world.  It is magical, light and dark in high relief, hedgerows illuminated and blackness beyond.  I know it all familiar farmland in daylight but driving tonight it does not feel familiar at all.


Fire is what you need in winter and darkness.  Back home we light the stove.  Fire and warmth make winter a pleasure.  I am a spring and summer person really, but tonight I am happy with the dark.

Comments

  1. I am an autumn person, yet I long for the endless days of high summer; as soon as the clocks go back and we lose that extra hour of daylight I find I cannot wait to draw the curtains to shut out the unfamiliar dark. I have always thought of it as a harkening back to the days of our ancestors when winter truly did mean the months of dark days and slim pickings.

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  2. I just love your description of driving those wonderful lanes. Of course spring is here with summer on its way.

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  3. I feel the same about country driving in the winter- much safer in many ways. Pitch black here at night too, I couldn't sleep if it wasn't. I love the image of the fire.

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  4. Elizabeth, you've given me a reminder of a time I stayed with friends in the countryside at this time of the year. Yes, the dark was very dark indeed. I understand that feeling of time being very different suddenly, and the urge to find a warm, bright fire.

    I also remember the stars above that seemed to hypnotize me. xo

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  5. Time for winding in and reflection, and of course lighting the stove - what would winter be without a fire?

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  6. That fire is very Wicker Man. I am greatly disliking the current warm dark here in Kent. It feels all wrong and destroys the cuddly comfort of going inside. As well as worrying me.

    Lovely description of the ancient hillforts and knowing they are there in the dark.

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  7. You've captured well the feeling of this season.

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  8. A lovely post. I'm so glad we live in a place where it can be dark at night, although there are still the lights way across the water collectively beaming their intrusive way into space. . . . I've been having to run in the early morning this fall, as my schedule demands, and it's been surprisingly enjoyable to spend that time with the stars. Although I might prefer walking under them of an evening instead. . . .

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  9. I, too, am an autumn person. Or, rather, Bear. In that fire I thought I saw the Wicker Man, but it must have been an optical illusion. Hope you enjoy all the Samhain blazes.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  10. when I remember Swiss winters, I prefer our gentler version. Next winter (untl the alterations are done ...) we'll miss having a wood stove, but this summer oh how we'll love sea breezes instead of flirting with forty C!

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  11. Yes - the dark can be beautiful - especially clear night skies which are filled with lights - a connection with the ancient universe.

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  12. Thank you for such an evocative post. If I lived in the city it would make me instantly want to move out to the country for that connection with the season's cycle. I too love the spring and summer, but a roaring log fire is a huge recompense!

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  13. Of course, given that I don't live far from you, this all sounds really familiar ... except that we have a little more light pollution and no open fire ... apart from the firepit and now is its season.

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  14. How did you make your fire look like a sycamore leaf?

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  15. I too love our winter fires and get great pleasure from gathering kindling when out walking. I love the sight of a nicely laid fire and that wonder sound, smell and sight of the flames leaping up- your photo captures it perfectly.

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  16. Still too warm for fires here, I miss the smell of woodsmoke, part of autumn, scenting the air. I love how mysterious night makes the familiar appear, I also love the sea at night. Popped to the corner shop for a bottle of wine last night and the moon was shining down on the crashing waves, magical.

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  17. Even though we're smack in the middle of a city of millions, we still get the changing leaves, chilly nights, and - surprisingly - the lovely smell of woodsmoke - I suppose there must be people around here with fireplaces or wood stoves. This post was so wonderfully done - I almost felt like I was there! I really do love autumn, but there's always the nagging thought that winter is just around the corner. A really lovely post...thank you.

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