Frost


Every year, as the seasons tick over, I feel as though I'm reliving my own perennial death and rebirth.

Now is the season of twilight, of low, slanting light, of cold, high clouds and soaking weather. Here, in this new place, this is the season of large massy clouds -- of dark green branches etched against pigeon-grey. There are also the glowing boughs of the maples, the few clusters of leaves still left. The leaves that collect beneath the trees remain and amass -- there are yellow collections and red collections and chestnut-brown collections. They repeat themselves in patterns I long to capture somehow.

I always think of Shakespeare in this season -- always of that 73rd sonnet --

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon these boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang

And when I think through those lines, when I arrive at Death, something always pulls up short in me -- I think of Emily Dickinson, of her certain slant of light which tells of the coming -- the slant of light which stops shadows short -- which causes the Landscape itself to pause. I think of arrested breath, of the pause, of liminality. I think of the cold waterway that flowed at the foot of the Tor -- that amazing place that I visited and wandered years ago. I think of the barrows there, and of the lines of force -- of white chalk lines drawn on hillsides.