Saturday, January 23, 2010


(Nicked from old blog - Jan. '06)

Last night was one of those magical nights that only comes along once in a blue moon.

The dogs and I left the house at about 10.30 for our late evening stroll. Crisp and clear. Looked like a full moon. We headed round the back and up the lane towards the fields. So bright we had shadows.

Turning right into Christian's field, I let the dogs off their leads. As usual, they ran off, ecstatic to be free again in the open air. But, unusually, this time I could see them. Running and rolling on the frosty grass. Crunching with every leap and bound. Chasing like crazy. Then they'd run back. Jock impishly nipping my leg. Sprocket leaping at my arm. And off they'd go again.

At the top of the field I turned around to look at the view. I could see for miles. Distant hills dark blue against an ice blue night sky. Village lights dotted, orange against indigo. And above, a big clear sky with a huge white moon. Not many stars though. Too bright to see them. Just made out 'The Plough' standing on end. Twinkling, sparkling.

Along the ridge there's a short copse track. Leads through some trees to the next field. On the right there's thick blue frost. Shaded by the trees from the daylight sun. Moonlight reflected in icy leaves and grass. Sparkling. Like diamonds. So I stop and look in wonder. A slight movement of the head and the winter vista dances and sparkles. Lunar lights. Magic moon.

We circuit the field and double back along the same track. With the moon behind us, we follow our sharp shadows, back towards the diamonds. But they've gone. No, they're back again when I turn and face the moon. Sparkling crystals.

Stopping at the top field, I again take in the view. Amazing. Quiet. Calm. A vapour trail slowly moves east to west. Then we turn right and head downhill towards Didier's maize field, following our shadows. Behind me and Jock, in the bright distance, Sprocket stays back, silhouetted against the low silver sky, digging up a molehill. Then another. Jock runs off to inspect. But soon comes back, crunching over frosty leaves.

At the bottom of the field, there's a six foot drop down a bank to the lane. Normally, at night, I can't see a thing and just grope my way down. But now I can clearly see my two rock steps jutting from the bank, even though they're in shadow. Then right for twenty yards to pat the old stone cross by the gate of Didier's field. It's a habit. But tonight the cross is sparkling. Crystals of granite in moonlight. Like diamonds.

Then we about-turn and head for home, along the lane, with the moon, field and bank to our left and the valley to our right. There's a small distant hamlet across the valley with a barking dog and two orange lights against a range of cool blues. Ahead, the lane has shadows, like zebra stripes, cast from the row of trees above the bank. There's frost on the gravel. Crunching. The moon flashes as trees drift past. Then the lane opens. No more shadows. Just a silver blue track, crunching us home.

Cold blue turns to warm orange as we turn the bend and a sodium streetlight shows our way. But tonight we don't need it. Ahead, there's a blue church tower against a silver sky. And to the right is our house with its dilapidated roof. But tonight it's sparkling with moonlight and frost. Beneath a diamond sky.

Once in a blue moon.

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