My morning walks have become longer again, and are beginning to require a certain military precision in their organisation. Keys — tick. Woolly layers — tick. Toes strapped (experiment in postural correction) — tick. Fitness tracker, headphones, smartphone, new podcasts downloaded — yes, yes, yes and yes.
The title of this post is from the poem In the Mid-Midwinter, by Liz Lochhead. It seems particularly appropriate today as nature has already bestowed on Greenhithe an almost white-out mist, bright winter sunshine and now a sky of “dreich greyness” as the rain approaches.
In the Mid-Midwinter
‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s – from John Donne’s
‘A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, being the Shortest Day’.
At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms though, no,
there is no moon of course,
there’s nothing very much of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
the light comes back
the light always comes back
and this begins tomorrow with however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.
there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us
bless us with their long-travelled light.
In my largely ever-green part of the world, autumn is not denoted by an increase in colour, but a gradual sense of its loss.
Sandwiched between tropical cyclones Debbie and Cook, New Zealand is experiencing a few days of sunshine. For the people of Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty these days are being spent salvaging what they can from their homes after the Rangitaiki River burst its banks last week and flooded the town, and preparing for the terrible possibility that the temporary repairs won’t hold in the coming storm.
I recently spent a long weekend in Wellington; the world’s southernmost capital city and one of my favourite happy-places.
Wellington is a small city, full of art and culture and great places to eat and drink coffee. Bounded by the sea and the hills, it works on a human scale. Everywhere is walkable, even in one of the howling gales for which Wellington is famous.
I arrived in the midst of such a storm. Throughout the flight from Auckland the captain warned that we might be in for a “bit of jostling” as our plane approached Wellington airport. He wasn’t joking.
Although the wind dropped a little over the weekend, it remained a grey and windy time — perfect for black & white photography.
The title of this post comes from the Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s poem ‘Blue Rain.’ An extract, below, is included in the Wellington Writers’ Walk — a series of “typographical sculptures” placed around the city. It occurs to me that the phase “cube of sunlight” might also be applied to photography.
— Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. From ‘Blue Rain’ in The Dark Lord of Savaiki: Collected Poems, Hazard Press, 2003