I just had to post this picture, even if I haven't got much to say about it! It's my house. I often can't quite believe it, but there it is, perched up on the mountainside between rice paddies, overlooking the valley that just goes down and down and down and...This picture is taken from about two thirds of the way to school, on the way back in the afternoon. In the evenings the sun drives down the valley in innumerable streaks through the mist, leaving wispy contrails of light that set the air to incandescence. The skies are now clear. You can see individual trees several mountains away. Going to and from school is one of my favourite things, either by day or by night.
Something has happened here recently, something unexpected and stunning. It's gone quiet. A few nights ago, after an epic contest of Yahtzee down in the village(finally got them playing games!), I set off for home on the wrong side of midnight. Folk don't go out walking alone at the witching hour in these parts - superstitious, and I can see why. There I was trundling along the forest-side path listening to the crunch of gravel beneath my feet, the path silvered by the bluish light of a nearly-full moon, thoughts nee-nawing around my head when I found myself irked by a noise that seemed to be disturbing not just me but the whole forest. For a few moments I couldn't pin it down, but then it dawned on me... It was my down jacket! The arms were swishing against the torso. How could this noise be so LOUD! And then I realised as I stopped there beneath the trees.... the world had slipped and fallen into silence, and not just up to its knees, but right up to its head and beyond.
It seems the forest has gone to sleep. Insects have given up their constant mwaa-de-mwaa and taken up some other means to pass the time. Birds are, I dunno, sleeping? On holiday? Even the dogs are reacting to the silence in kind. I can honestly say I have never stood in such complete and MASSIVE silence before. The forest loomed up on one side of me, giants leaning over hordes of bushes and shrubs, and behind me, the valley fell away and the mountains reared up beyond. So much life, so much stuff, and not a single chirp or twittle or trickle or pop. Eery. And remarkable. And peaceful beyond thought. How do they survive on the other side of the border where it is never quiet, ever?
So I've taken to walking at night recently. The landscape's adopted stillness reminds me of a deserted stage where the theatre's drama still lingers in the air. It's a still photograph in 3D, a movie set, a museum almost. Nothing moves. Nothing breathes. My eyes can soak it all up raster style and record it deep and detailed for when I am gone from this place.