As so the year drags towards its deepest darkness, and every day the dawn comes later, so much so that it seems the curtains are closing almost as soon as they are opened. There is only a week to go until the winter solstice, when despite the longest night, the earth and sun shake hands and we in the north begin to benefit from its intensifying embrace. Eventually we’ll be able to set off for the morning run a little earlier as the light in our lives brightens, and all this even as the winter itself comes on, bearing whatever cruelties it has planned. It is a cheering thought, in the week which marks the anniversary of the death of Ten Blankets. Routines are different these days and though the little one’s needs have added to the burden of beginning each day, the main obstacle to getting going is the profound dark which in Northumberland is both intense and enduring.
Unexpected joys abound, however, despite the depressing cycle of too many dreary dawns and dusks. Last night, for instance, someone threw diamonds hither and yon across the crystal-clear sky, but they sank before I could catch them or see where they had fallen. Young Jo the Hamster ate a whole tiny tomato in his supper salad, grasping it like a boulder as he held it aloft in his beautiful hands and sunk his teeth into it. His favourite vegetable, it is a small reminder of the green remnants of the tomato crop stored to ripen in a bowl but now transformed by time and our kitchen’s warmth into miniature treasures, worthy of a doll’s house.
And today I was surprised by the joy of a game of chase with little Nicholas: as we darted around each other, I could feel the fear of his fragility melting away and in its place a sense of fun shared in mutual respect. I think I will enjoy his company. As he grows and gets to know himself, as well as us, I will get to understand him better too. Newman accepted him without a second thought and so shall I. Larks ahoy, I say!