The Longest Day

Solstice 2013

The longest day and the valley is shrouded in mist. On such days the sun passes from ridge to ridge without ever being seen. A veiled presence. After the blazing days of the last few weeks this is a return to what we experienced last summer. Mist slowly advancing up the valley, retreating, and advancing once more. Perhaps it has something to do with the narrow shape of the valley, our elevation, and our proximity to the sea. Black Combe, only a few miles away, seems always to have a cloud halo, even on the brightest day.

In the picture above my daily walk takes me above the ridge that dominates the left, high above the old ash tree on the right, and then steeply down into a nearby derelict farm, before returning up the valley road. I remember walking on a mist-laden day last year and hearing one of the ravens that nests in the disused quarry. I didn’t see it, and it didn’t see me, but we heard each other, and it came over to investigate. It circled me twice, low over my head, and I could hear so clearly its powerful wingbeat, and its beak, opening and closing, as it sounded the gloom.