Sunday, 18 December 2011

A pause and then...

As Dunc mentioned in his last post, it's an odd time of year. Last winter, our first since returning to Norfolk, was notable for a harsh December, which imparted a barren, dead feel to the land. I thought that this was due to the ice and snow, but this last few weeks, though lacking the biting temperatures, I have noticed this same feel; it is as if the world is holding its breath, after the incredible energy of spring has dissipated across summer and autumn, finally running out of steam in late November.

Bare trees aside, I cannot quite ascribe this to particular events; there are still plenty of birds to be seen (though other than the doughty robin they sing not) including exotic migrants, there are non-hibernating mammals and even stray insects, drowsy though they be, with evergreens and flowers like cyclamen still providing bursts of colour. No, it is just a feeling that I have, of stasis, of a caesura, a pause, as though the world was waiting for some unheard clarion call, a far-off bugle on the edge of hearing that will signal the start of next year's fecund roundabout of seasons and until then will wait, not breathing, not moving. It is as the moment when a wave has washed away from the beach and for the merest moment in time it holds itself unmoving, before tipping back on itself to accelerate once more towards the land. But in this pause, we enjoy such sights as the Redwing (Turdus iliacus) that alighted on the hedgerow, feasting on the last of the haws, providing a welcome burst of Christmas colour.

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