Albion, ancient sites, Art, Don and Wen

Rooted in the Land – Stolen moments

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury cropton Helmsley 001

I see the dawn most mornings, but it would be the last dawn like this for a while, I knew. It is not the same to watch the sun rise over rooftops or see its light constrained by neat hedgerows and tidy fields. Next time I would be here, heading back from the hills of the north, the year would have fallen further into darkness and I would have driven far before the sun could touch the horizon… too far for hilltops. So there was never any question about rushing. I could spare a few minutes… perhaps more than a few… to watch the east from the rocks of the tor.

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury cropton Helmsley 016

First light touched the city as I drove; it seemed odd and unfair to think that my companion of the past few days would be sitting in a bus on his way to the office, somewhere within those little lights while I took the car higher, beyond the next hill to where I could park and climb amongst the last of the heather that still lingered, its faded colour briefly renewed by the morning light.

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury cropton Helmsley 059

Once again the mists filled the valley, blanketing the earth and keeping it warm a little while longer. Here, on the highest point, the temperature had dropped into that pre-dawn chill as the world seemed to hold its breath as it waited for in hope of wonders.

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury cropton Helmsley 080

The sky is an opalescent manuscript writing the name of all that is sacred above the world. In the west, ice crystals suspended in the air refract the sunrise as a prism and the clouds are iridescent. Rocks and grass are edged are gilded as the sky flames and the water caught in the hollow boulders seems like liquid gold. Time stops as the world wakes in beauty, a final gift before the long road home after days of magic…

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