Candlemas, way back at the beginning of February, is traditionally the day on which housewives of yore welcomed the fact that they could get up in the light without needing any candles. Well all I can say to them is that either they ate a lot of carrots and can see in the dark much better than me, or they were slackers. It’s taken a good few more weeks into the year for me to even think of claiming that I’m getting up in the light.
But finally, finally I think I’m there; on sunny mornings at least. I can see the edge of the curtain outlined by a glimmering that tells me it’s not the middle of the night any more, and by the time I’m up and dressed and heading out the door, there’s usually a pinky glow to the sky and just the first few rays of light breaking over the far hill as I head down through the village.
I think there’s something really special about seeing the dawn; for all the confidence that the sun will come up tomorrow there’s still a quiet magic about it, a freshness and newness to a whole day stretched before you, even if the most exciting thing you’re going to do is get on a train to work.
Standing on the platform at the train station, the morning light dances along the rails and the canopy of the other platform shimmers gold and I seem to find it utterly irresistible to photograph – as you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram because all through the winter and into the Spring I’ve been taken a very similar picture of the same thing. And yet they’re not the same; I’ve inadvertently done one of those photo projects where you take the same picture regularly and look for the changes, and changes there are in abundance. The deep winter pictures with velvety skies, like a pool of spilled ink against the hot orange glow of the platform lights; the first days when the dawn pushed against the dark, flooding the skies with rose and gold; and now; the palest blue like a drop of watercolour on a white page, and the sun getting higher in the sky with every day.
The return of the light.
And while March does seem to have decided to start off on a wet and windy note, the light is still there and I’m so glad to see it. It’s not just that it means I can take photos on all seven days a week, it’s not just that I get to see my house in the daylight, or spend longer outside, I think there’s just something invigorating about more light, a sort of awakening from a winter hibernation feeling perhaps. The more light there is, the more I totally get why lambs spend so much of their days just bouncing around the fields – there’s something in the air.
The light says that Spring is here and Summer is coming, and much as I love the cosy and snuggled up feeling of the winter (though the lack of snow this year was a bit of a let down), I’m ready tuck it away until December and embrace every last daffodil and primrose. There are tulips growing in the garden, we’ve been planning the seeds for a veg bed that isn’t even built yet, there’s Easter and Mother’s Day and bank holidays to look forward to, and probably April showers and rainbows and knowing the UK: snow.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one – are you welcoming the Spring with open arms or lingering just a little while longer under the quilts with the hot chocolate?