I don’t like saying that the nights are drawing in… but they are. I think having evening walks on the coast, and always timing them to enjoy the last light, means that you recognise this shift very clearly. Rather than walks ending at 10pm, as the light is fading, now we’re seeing that light fade by half 8. Now, we’re having a flask of tea in the car in the gloaming, and driving home in darkness. August is the month where you can feel the light slipping more quickly. Still summer, but with that first hint of the darker evenings ahead.
It’s been a while. I know I’ve said this before, but I didn’t mean to be away from this space for two+ months. My last post was at the start of January, still in the depths of winter, feeling grateful for a coastal walk with some beautiful shifting light, and here we are, almost three months on with longer days and new spring life budding around us. I am so grateful to see the end of winter. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer cold weather to summer’s warm and humid days, but the light… I’ve been longing for the return to light.
For years, Christmas brought stress. What to buy, who to buy for, how much to spend, how to afford any of it. What to do on the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the expectations. A few years ago, we decided to step aside from all of those expectations and have the Christmas that we really wanted: quiet, just the four of us, without the pressure of cards or gifts (we donate to animal rescue charities instead), and with a walk as the focus on our day. And for the last few years, that walk has been here, at John Muir Country Park. This has become our tradition.
It’s a frozen weekend here, and a strange one as I’m home alone with the lads (of course, when I’m with the lads, I’m never alone) and we won’t be able to go out anywhere. And our weekends usually revolve around walks. Regardless of the weather (more or less – we avoid wild, driving rain but that’s about it) we’ll usually be on a coastal walk somewhere.
For all the photos I share from this walk in beautiful light – this post from the start of this year springs to mind – there are also plenty of walks that look like this: grey, sullen, damp, dreich. And it’s easy to look at photos like these and feel that this place is a bit depressing. The fallen woodland of John Muir Country Park looks heavy in this light, in this weather. It feels heavy. And perhaps it begs the question, why share these images?
The transition from the long days of summer to the abbreviated days of autumn (and winter) is always a tough one, right? I miss our evening walks more than I can explain. They were the grounding part of my day, and also the uplifting part. Our time to get outside, to drive down the coast and walk below big skies. To watch the lads run and sniff. To exhale out the day and those tight hours spent at a desk. To let our eyes soak in wide vistas after too many hours at a screen.