The miniature mountain

Today we’ve seen fog in the valley.  Freezing fog, forming ice in my hair and beard, though not quite the icicles in the eyebrows my teenage self grew in the colder winter of 1978-9.

As I walked up Whitchurch Down on the edge of Dartmoor, a woman coming down told me the sun was shining up the top.  It seemed a little unlikely from the cold, grey surroundings, but plausible given that the fog was clearly a frost-hollow effect.  And indeed, when I got up to the top I saw the sun gradually appear through the fog, and then with startling rapidity in its full glory as the fog became the merest of wisps.  It was the effect of emerging above the clouds usually associated with real mountains – or flight.

Visually it was strikingly beautiful looking down upon the clouds.  Indeed, one of many fine effects we’ve seen this autumn/winter, starting with an exceptionally rich and gorgeous display of autumn colour from the trees in October/November. Today’s bare trees through the fog made a striking image, as did the sun over the very small range between invisibility and full brightness.

On the way up, snaps of the emerging sun through the bare trees …

On the way down, the sun rapidly diminishes …

Along with this, my thermostat is now telling me it’s the coldest weather we’ve had since I moved to this place in 2005, and my gut feeling is that it’s the coldest since I moved to southwest England in 1998, notwithstanding a spot of real winter last year.

Posted on December 6, 2010, in seasons. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. You can wax quite lyrical/poetic when it comes to natural beauty and I fully agree. In fact, many a time do I hear the phrase …every prospect pleases and only man is vile…in my head.
    I also find this cold spell unusually severe for this country – have even resorted to a pair of fake-fur slippers for use on our cold kitchen floor.
    Have you actually resorted to using your heating?

  2. Heating? Well, I’ve had to turn the thermostat down to about 9 degrees to prevent it coming on overnight when I’m under the duvet. Even last winter I could leave it as 11 or 12 without it coming on. I used it the week before last in the early part of the cold spell when I had a mild lurgy. But I still prefer a brisk walk, a wooly pullover, and a hot bath, and during the day there’s still the natural heat of my south-facing windows.

  3. I’m sure those lovely photographs were not included in your posting when I found it in the middle of the night! How on earth do you go about editing an already posted entry?
    Seeing your pics makes me feel that perhaps one should always carry ones mobile so as to have ready access to a camera for opportunist shots.
    Glad to hear you are no longer “allergic” to a small amount of heating, when needed. When you say wooly pullover do you mean real wool, as in sheep, or one of the many imitations around? I’m curious cause I only tolerate wool wool.

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