In the morning half-light of the school run, gulls glimpsed on ice with my kids’ school in the background.
Tonight and tomorrow has been predicted to be as low as -12, which is pretty unheard of for Manchester. Bring on the school run tomorrow then. Long Johns Sally weather.
From my poetry blog. Soon be Christmas.
At This Time A virginal shroud settles upon our abodes. Fairy lights flicker in the long night. Inside, all manner of songs and odes are offered to acclaim our rite. Those of us not overtly religious indulge themselves out of tradition. Those of us not openly pious offer tacit prayers without petition. But all desire to feel the joy that shines forth from every child's eyes. An augury, in innocence's employ, that lifts the soul amongst the winter skies. Though we partake in the gathered feast, and survive the night imbibing wine, we recognise, when all has ceased, that part of man inherently divine. ©Andrew James Murray
Officially it is not winter for five weeks or so, but the seasons sometimes blur the calendrical boundaries and fixed points that we like to attribute to them.
Yesterday was the first real cold morning of the year. Crisp and clear, a light frost covered everything, a promise maybe of what is to come. And, perhaps with a sense of the shift in things, it seemed that my Facebook feed was filled with photographs by people drawn to mark this liminal time.
An old school friend by the name of Dave Wright lives up in Inverness, in Scotland. He has two things up there that I don’t have: a decent camera and the northern lights.
He took this photograph as a cold dusk fell upon the land, he himself hunkered down for the night. The tree serves as a point of focus in an otherwise horizontal sweep.
And then, as he quite aptly described it: the moment the sky danced.
Further south, across the English border (how we like to divide and designate, whether with land or time or people) another old school friend, Derek Bates, paused to take in the view from his works window. This was in Duckingfield, a town in Greater Manchester, with light struggling slowly over the bare hills, the low-lying land shrouded in mist.
To the east of Duckingfield, in my hometown of Middleton, the temperature stubbornly refused to rise. The mist appeared hesitant beyond the trees.
And then the school run beckoned, drawing us out of our heated home. Ignore that sun, it may as well have been a snowflake.
“It’s cold,” my daughter exclaimed as we hurried along the main road. “I can’t feel my legs.”
“They’re still there,” I replied. “Keep going!”
From my poetry blog.
Midnight, July We writhe with a rage to know the unknowable, blind to great masses that dance in dark orbits. And a soft, summer wind on a night beneath stars is no balm. From somewhere a whistle casts a line, a fragile camaraderie in a world fell silent, where white moth-wing is riotous and a spider's touch carnal. ©AndrewJamesMurray
Something new (and late) over on my poetry blog.
Indian Summer Indian Summer, golden and implausibly charred. Only one pot holds flowers to reach for the sun, all of the others contain withered wraiths of long-spent blooms, their calendar clocks denying the possibility Of these late September days. ©AndrewJamesMurray
The first storm of the season, named Aileen, is due to hit tonight. For perspective, Aileen is no Irma, but still. I’ve taken down the hanging baskets and an outside lantern which is as much as I can do with no hatches to batten down.
The afternoon I spent working on a second poetry collection I’m trying to put together, while listening to a group from my favourite music period.
I have a friend who loves the eighties, and would instantly recognise the nod given by the title of this post. My own go-to listening preference stretches from the mid-sixties to early seventies. The Beatles; The Doors; The Kinks; The Rolling Stones; Tim Buckley; Cream; Cohen; Dylan, I love all of these and more.
Being born in 1971 means that in my youth I’ve never been in vogue, musically. And don’t even mention my dress sense!
Listening to music helps when I’m writing. The group I was listening to today was Jefferson Airplane. Why do I like these?
Go and ask Alice. When she’s ten feet tall.