Friday, 20 November 2009

Where day and night split

Hullo ma wee blog,

My lovely G is just behind me as I step from the house out into the drive and unlock the car for the short 10 minute trip to Dunbar and her morning train to Edinburgh and work.

Just a normal day.

The wind had been loud and loutish during the night with some periods threatening to reach so far into my consciousness as to wake me thoroughly but thankfully stopping at just being a reminder it was there. But by 4.30 I was awake for the day and, as there is no point in me staying to harrumph and wake the lovely G with my tossing and turning, I followed my habit and got up to head for the kitchen and my chair at the table in the corner by the patio doors. The wind, decreased in volume, was still hard to ignore through the double glazing of the doors and windows. Early reports on the radio were full of dire stories of heavy rainstorms and flooding further south and west and a sad report of a policeman missing when a bridge collapsed while evacuating folks from some of the rural areas worst affected. Cockermouth on the Cumbrian coast, a town we know quite well from previous visits, appears to be at the center of the worst weather and has had 12 inches of rain in 24hrs, the worst since records began.

The first thing I notice on opening the car for us is that the morning is warmer than over the last few weeks and the sky has an incredible feel to it this morning. Its deep with colour and still night to all intents, an inky dark brooding mass of seething cloud.

As we head off down the driveway and on to the road out of the village and turn towards Dunbar we change direction and at the top of the hill the first hint of real dawn is threatening to follow the slim slit of grey and pale gold showing on the horizon way off out into the North Sea. A few minutes later and clouds appear in the increasing light away on my right, out across the water beyond Torness power station. A long line of low cloud almost the visible length of the estuary, it looks like something a child would paint on a picture of seascape, not quite real somehow,with a clear but dark sky above, but its there none the less. As we move on I am thinking about those clouds, how unusual they look and it occurs to me that they look like they are parched and hungrily sucking up sustenance from the sea close below, perhaps to replace what they unloaded on the land during the night, but urgently, before they are noticed and chased away by the wind coming in off the water.

The radio leads us through the inane chatterings of a changeover of DJ's and by the time that's over we are reaching the outskirts of Dunbar with its dark grey roads glistening iron hard and slick with last nights rain. The light now is perhaps my favourite time to drive; neither dark or light and the headlights having no apparent visible effect on the road ahead, but a marker to see and be seen by. Its a time that lasts only for a few precious miles in the morning or evening. A time to be savoured, at least by me. This is the time for the deer, the fox and the morning birds, the hare and the heron, with the last of the predators gone or going and the stragglers of nights life anxious to be away out of sight.

Each morning, the station gives me the opportunity for a curmudgeonly tut at some hopeless driver, holding up the rest of us with his inability to find an out of the way location to disgorge his passengers or for a thoughtless pedestrian stepping into harms way. And of course lets not forget that sleepy cyclist with the death wish and no lights. Perhaps its the horn blowing that is his real alarm call. One of these days one of us is not going to stop in time, I guarantee it.

Soon G is is gone from my side leaving the memory of a kiss lingering on my lips and a breathless "see you later" to prepare me properly for the day ahead. I turn about to retrace the road back to the A1 and home, past Cromwells camp site and the battle stane memorial to that sair fecht in 1650. I think its incredible that the battles of 1296 and 1650 took place on pretty much the same piece of land and with the same auld enemy. It seems to me they sit like quotation marks either side of the start and end of Scotlands forlorn fight for Independence.

As I drive past the stone, sitting hump-backed and largely ignored by the side of the road, the night colours are still solidly there on my right out the window and on my left the steel grey of day has charged up with the wind. Somewhere above me is where day and night split. Night still clings on by the fingertips but soon it will be gone, chased beyond the horizon by the cloudy battalions of dawn to regroup, re-arm, and reappear.

See you later.........

Listening to Mike Oldfield ' Five Miles Out'


Anonymous said...

You're a modern day poet Al ,,

Big Swifty said...

What a wonderful portrait of the weather and seasons at our northern latitudes (even more so for you!). I love to celebrate the changes in light and warmth as we hurtle round the sun. A wonderfully evocative posting, thank you.

Morning's Minion said...

I think the "in betweens" offer a lot of interest and beauty--the moments between day and night, the seasons of spring and fall which both have something of that which is passing and that which is yet to arrive. I often think of verses which are set to music in an older hymnal which I have. I've never heard it sung, but the words are appropriate, expecially to us who sleep poorly and perhaps long for the greater sanity of morning.
This is by Jan Struther:
"High o'er the lonely hills, black turns to gray.
Birdsong the valley fills, Mists fold away.
Gray wakes to green again, Beauty is seen again;
Gold and serene again Dawneth the day."

The poem might be too gently pastoral for some modern tastes, but for me it captures experience. How often I have watched dawn come into a room or the landscape beyond a window curtain--waiting for just that moment when dark shapes are again defined by light and and color.

Alistair said...

Hullo Folks,

Thanks for all your nice comments on this post.

MM - loved the rythm and gentleness of the poem. Thanks.


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