|Thistles, Nature's Fireworks!|
I slept through the midnight hour - the blessed moment when 2019 became 2020 - being rather tired after a greater part of the afternoon of New Year's Eve waiting for a 1.30pm appointment at the hospital eye clinic, then missing my afternoon bus home, and having to wait for the evening one.... that was delayed due to a break down.
These little human touches, the aches, sniffles, wobbles, waits, and worries can so easily interrupt the best laid plans, but the New Year - 2020 - appeared on schedule as we suspected it might, and we greeted it with bleary eyes at 5.30am whilst cats were fed, and we brewed the first cup of tea for the year!
As 5.30 became 6.30, then 7.30, and tea had been superseded by coffee, we became increasingly aware that the outside world was not behaving in a reliable way. The early light of the day, that time just before sunrise,when the starry sky fades into a pale blue-grey, with a hint of lemon yellow, had scarcely brightened. There was no sun at all, just a yellow- grey twilight that, if anything, grew dimmer as we progressed towards the middle of the day.
|Late morning it grew darker. A world without cast shadows.|
If it were not for the tick of the clock, the slow wipe of the minute hand, and the steady walk of the hour, there would have been no way of knowing if it was 7, 8, 10 or midday, or even 3 or 4 in the afternoon, because we were without the sun. We had light of a sort, and a yellow cast to everything, but no hint of shadows to assure us that the sun was "over there", or "up there".
|A Studio for Rembrandt! New Year's Day in my studio.|
The yellow-grey twilight was due to the vast ash cloud that strong winds had carried all the way from the bush fires in Australia to New Zealand, and then on toward Antarctica.
It is one thing to see the horrendous images of the bush fires in the media and to hear about it on the news, but it makes the scale of it very real when you taste and smell the ash, and to walk in semi darkness more than 2000 km away.
As the New Year is cheered in and celebrated, our thoughts are mostly with the Australians who are doing their best to battle on and survive fires that are unimaginable in ferocity and scale.