Tuesday, December 20, 2005

roe-deer inverse

The winter solstice is tomorrow at 1835 GMT.

With ten minutes and the spring idea already in my nostrils I went off-radar to see if I could see a first snowdrop in a place where there will soon be millions. I found none, which confirms the common idea that they are triggered by lengthening days after the solstice. The (less common) elaboration of this idea is that if the moon at the solstice is waxing towards the full, it could (conceivably) strengthen the snowdrop's impression that the days are getting longer. That's what happened last year (Full Moon on 26/12/04), and the snowdrops did indeed flower early. This year they ought to be late since the moon has been on the wane since last Thursday. Personally I think the moon's light would be a pennyworth at best, and always swamped by other climatic factors.

The wood was empty: it had bamboo, wych-elm, and yew. I admired the layers of fallen leaves, walking along; an evanescent geology had formed on the path; there were no footprints, but a geologist of some sort had churned it up - rusty underneath. This was in my lunchtime. I passed the grotto (roof held up by steel stanchions) and as I went by I caught a glimpse of deer-flank, awakened and flitting off in one motion. The doe made her demographic adjustment without the slightest annoyance. That was when I really knew I was here: in the wide band of roe-deer inverse that laps our habitual steps and settlements. Out here I saw that it wasn't Xmas at all, it was December. Shopping and partying, December gets lost somehow. But when I met it, I thought it was probably December underneath my skin, too.



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