I went to a party up past Hethersgill last night, right up in the middle of nowhere, in the wild country where the Reiver ghosts still roam. I love it up there: rolling hills, miles of roads which could go anywhere, and a deep, deep sense of history – plus, in the daylight, endless views out to the sea and to the fells. It was a typical country party: you drive up a track, cross a muddy farmyard to get there, and then have lovely mulled wine and sausages in bread rolls to eat (I missed the bonfire for a variety of reasons). No evening dresses and high heels and no need for piles of make-up. Bliss.
Driving back across Walton Moss I stopped the car engine and switched off all the lights. It was black, except that as it was cold and clear the stars were shining brightly. I could have been all alone in the world other than the stars looking down at me, and I was surrounded by darkness and stillness. I wished I had my camera, except having just looked for ‘night sky’ images on google I’ve realised that in fact it would probably have been a rather dull picture: lots of black with the odd star dotted around. But that’s where photos fall short: they can’t describe how you actually felt when you were taking the photo.
I was working (at the computer – doing property valuations) today but by about 4.30 had cabin fever and needed to get out. The sunset looked promising: a dark grey sky above a reddish pink base, the pinky-red striped by black linear clouds. I drove up to the Tarn and walked around it as the sun went down tried to photograph the gently rippling dark waters of the Tarn, hills dark shadows in the background, trees silhouetted against the sky, pinks and blacks shimmering on the horizon and then the darkening sky above. Unfortunately the camera wasn’t man enough for the job and the photos came out too light and grainy.
So I’ll just have to remember these nights and these moments in my mind’s eye: along with the full moons which have been so amazing the past few months. Yesterday’s night sky and today’s sunset weren’t startling or dramatic, but in their own low-key way they were incredibly beautiful: and a reminder to get out there into the outdoors, whatever the time of day and whatever the weather.