October 18th – A lovely still evening, again with a beautiful sky it was a joy to cycle home in. At Stonnall, the last dying light over Sandhills was precious and suffused with gold.
I’d better make the most of it as the clocks go back in a week’s time, and that’ll end my sunset commutes for another year…
February 25th – A day of continual light snow and odd sunny periods, but it was again fiercely bitter.
Returning from Shenstone Station, I stopped to note than in the daylight at last, my commute revealed the twin church towers of Shenstone – one in use, one very much derelict.
Across the rooftops of the village, that’s a lovely sight and one that every year reminds me that although the weather may be bad, spring and warmth are on their way.
December 21st – And this is the reason for my sudden optimism. Today is the winter solstice, or shortest day. From here, everything gets better, because the light trickles steadily back into my darkened soul.
The bike GPS tells me the sunrise and sunset times on the main screen, as I love to watch them daily. Today, the sun rose around 8:16am, and set around 3:54. I’ve watched these times all year, and registered the slow acceleration of nightfall from Midsummer, slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, minute by precious minute; then cascading and careering through the midway and the end of British Summer Time. Slowing up again, that last push to before 4pm is crushing when it happens.
By the time I return to work after this, my final commute of 2017, the sunset will already be past 4pm. And no matter what the winter brings, inexorably, unalterably, the GPS will record the gradual steps into the light. And then, at the end of March, I will emerge blinking into the light evenings as British Summer Time commences again.
I have survived the oncoming dark for another year. All I need to dow now is watch the darkness retreat.
November 22nd – Coming through New Street Station at night, rush hour on a foul blustery evening when all the trains are messed up.
I’d rather be anywhere else than here.
Nothing sums up the deadzone, the suck, this awful time of year: no end to the advancing darkness, travel worsening daily, weather closing in.
And yet, there’s something awfully optimistic about it. You know that in a few short weeks, it’ll be over, and we’ll be opening out again.
October 18th – And here’s the problem. The clocks haven’t gone back yet – we’re still on British Summer Time – and look at those sunset and sunrise times, as shown by my bike computer. Both my commutes are now mostly in darkness.
This is profoundly sad to me. I love the light, the summer, the green. And for the next four months, I will be deprived of these things.
But then again, the hunger makes them more special when they’re present.
And so the season’s wheel turns onward.
March 24th – I had to visit that cowslip in daylight, so I made sure I passed by in the sunshine.
I hope I did it justice this time.
December 21st – At last, work is over for the year, coinciding happily with the shortest day. The winter solstice is important to me, as once it’s passed, the days begin their sinusoidal rollercoaster of opening out once more – slowly at first, then careering to daylight as the spring comes.
When I reach this point, I always feel I’ve survived. From here on in, things can only improve. And Christmas is here!
I passed the Black Cock in Walsall Wood on my way home; a pub that’s clinging on despite several changes of landlord in a short time, it remains popular and the welcoming, warm lights in the darkness made it feel festive and welcoming.
I’m ready for Christmas now, and a rest.
October 15th – Further on, I hopped on the Spot Path back to Pier Street, and autumn is clearly well afoot now; leaves are turning and falling, and there’s that unmistakable nip to the air. It’s also getting dark now only a little past six pm – and in a week or so, the clocks will be going back and it’s the time of darkness once more.
Although autumn is lovely, I hate what it leads to.