The quality of light.

The days are short, and I push them out to their boundaries. The light starts to die by 3pm. Suddenly the warmth goes out of the sun, and the brilliance from the air. But it is still light. By four you would be well advised to use your car headlights, though you can still see perfectly well at ordinary human speeds. Then the quality of vision changes. Water becomes gun metal, glinting and glowering. Trees are figures out of Greek tragedy. The odd last stand of beech leaves fire up against the gloom. The sky, when it is something more than solid flat-roof-lead, rifts and builds up in towers, or glows and transmutes into patchwork. It is still light. Nearly light. I can walk, see the pheasant before it explodes in front of the dogs. The sun is gone now, but you can still see the glow thrown round the earth’s curve. If it is clear, the edges of the landscape are cut out against it. But the pheasants sink back into their holes. I can only see the sheep. Then they, too, begin to fade. But it is still not yet night, not yet, not yet. Then the sky blacks out. If it is clear, there are a few stars, if it is cloudy and there is a moon, then there is still light. No stars? No moon, even hidden? That is real dark.

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2 responses to “The quality of light.

  1. anything I say after that will be banal.

    but thank you for writing it.

  2. Yes, this.

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