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.