Monday, 10 January 2011

Looking Up

This is the time of year that always finds me oppressed by the winter gloom and longing for spring - or at least some sign that there's still a sun up there. So my heart lifted when I awoke yesterday to cloudless enamel blue skies - and the countrybound trains running to time. I was soon at Box Hill, toiling merrily up the dip slope - quite steep enough thanks, especially as the shadier tracks were still covered in ice that had frozen into a crackling layer of quartz-like crystals on top of the chalk and mud. There were quite a few people around, at least on the main walks and on the broad mound of downland that is the easiest, most popular way up and down the hill (and was the scene of that memorable picnic in Emma). The views were glorious in the crisp clear light - almost as sharp as early spring - under that dome of sky. I saw nothing especially notable - just being there was quite enough - until, on the way down, I paused to look back uphill, and there, walking quite insouciantly across the open down from one side to the other, towards the wooded margin, was a large and handsome deer, looking almost surreally out of place. I've seen deer in the woods often enough, but never before on the downland on a 'busy' day. Nobody seemed to notice this fine beast as it went on its way - as I too soon did; sadly this had to be a short walk. But it had been enough to lift the winter gloom.
Today was greyer, but just warm enough (i.e. not prohibitively cold) for a brisk lunchtime walk along to Holland Park - and my first 'picnic' since before the December cold snap. It was good to be back, sitting in an alcove watching the birds on the feeders (including those bullying gluttons, the ring-necked parakeets). Things are looking up. Spring is on its way.


  1. Your words are an oasis.

  2. Yes - beautiful. After an unpromising start, the sun appeared briefly today lighting up the edges of buildings, and the hills. It's nearly 4pm and still bright. The tips of snowdrops are showing in the garden. So cheering!

  3. Dear Nige,
    I just found you tonight, via The Daily Dish. I think you've saved my soul. Thanks for your thoughts, words and reflections.
    With affection, from the NorthWest in the US