Day twelve of the “twelve project”, the final day.
Over the last twelve days, starting on Boxing Day, I’ve uploaded one photo I’ve taken from each of the twelve months of 2016, then created a post about that photo, one per day. Here’s the final image, this one from December.
I think its particularly appropriate to finish this project with a sunset. One of advantages of living here is that there are many, many spectacular sunsets. It’s really not unusual to be so caught by the colours in the sky at sunset that we stop whatever we were doing and either open the windows to get a better look, or dash out into the garden to climb on the wall and gaze at this most wonderful, most extraordinary, most ordinary of natural phenomena.
You might think that we’d get used to it, see a sunset like this and just think, “that’s the sun going down”. But we don’t. When I lived in Stirling I looked out from my second floor apartment to some of Scotland’s mountains, in particular to Ben Ledi. I swear that every single day it looked different to me. I never ever tired of it. It never became so familiar that I stopped noticing it. It’s the same with these sunsets here. I’m sure it would be the same if I lived on the coast and looked out onto the sea. The sea, equally, is different every time you look at it. I think that’s why artists like Cezanne painted the “same view” so many times (Mont Sainte-Victoire in his case) – because he was entranced by how different even a mountain could look every day, or, indeed, every hour of the day.
But there’s more to this image than the colours of the sunset. If you look carefully you can see the Moon and the planet Venus. I adore those early evening planets and stars and I am more aware of the current phase of the moon than I have been at any time in my life. The skies here are pretty dark. Those little lights you see at the bottom right of the photo are from the houses in the next village. So, you can see, there isn’t a lot of “light pollution”. That means that once it gets really dark I can see the Milky Way very, very clearly, and I can see stars I’ve never seen before.
And there’s one more thing in this photo. To the left you can see the branches of the Mulberry Tree which grows in the garden here. I just love that tree. I love following its seasons, from buds in the Spring, to the rich cover of huge leaves which I shelter under in the heat of the Summer, to the abundant mulberry berries which are the strangest looking berries I’ve ever seen, to the pleasure of raking up the leaves in the Autumn, and the striking shape of the bare branches in the Winter.
For all of these reasons and more, this is a great image to end the year with. It’s good to be alive.