Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunrise, Hopton Titterhill, Shropshire.

The sheltered valley in the woods is surrounded by birdsong as I walk up Hopton Titterhill. It feels like a spring morning. As I climb higher through the trees their song gives way to the fine chirps of possibly tits and goldcrests that inhabit the conifers. I find a place to sit and I have only just got here in time.

The sky above is mainly a flat sheet of cloud with a few break here and there to the pale blueness above. This is reflected in the valley below me by a carpet of mist, an almost perfect blanket of white that fills the whole Vale of Wigmore and extends as far north as I can see up towards Church Stretton. It looks like a frozen lake before me, so distinct at its edges and so smooth. The sun, with a bright pale orange light, briefly emerges a little way above the horizon through a gap in the cloud layer lighting up the edges of the distant mist, before being shrouded in grey again.

The mist is moving slowly in the valley. All the hills above a certain hight have stood proud of the mist. Clunbury hill, that about ten minutes ago looked like a perfect island of green fields and topmost trees surrounded by water, has now almost vanished under a mist tsunami. The forecast had a been right to predict a mist and so I had anticipated a dull, damp morning with no promise of a sunset. This is magnificent. As I write, so Clunbury Hill has now reappeared again and the horizon is lit by golden rays of light emerging from the gently moving clouds. The light intensifies and I am now in morning sunshine. A the sunlight changes and evolves with the movement of the clouds so large areas of the sea of mist are lit up before me. These constantly move and change as it there is a giant spotlight that tracks over the landscape - randomly appearing in selected areas.

A greater spotted woodpecker taps away at on old tree stump about fifteen metres away. Small birds are chirping everywhere around me, unseen in the trees, and a blackbird sings out over the hillside. Later on I saw some deer on one of the forestry tracks.

During yesterday's long drive I was wondering whether I should make these trips in the future. When I spend my whole day glued to a computer screen it takes a while to adjust to this new perspective of being in the landscape. Sitting here, looking out over the mist and hills just forces me to stop and readjust to a different world.

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