A cold snap of weather, and the landscape plunged into a chill of hibernation. At least it feels like Winter has arrived at last. The thrill of going outside and being engulfed by freezing air, instead of a mild drip of warm rain, is invigorating. An opportunity to wrap up in wooly socks and oversized jumpers – the comforting feeling that you are wearing your bedding as you go about your business.
It is an icy start to the day – a seemingly endless darkness when getting out of bed. I open the patio doors next to the piano and let our two cats out into the moonlit morning. The sky is clear, and the night time creatures are still flitting about, just out of sight, but I can hear the rustling in the hedgerows. I stare into the pitch darkness, and feel as though my cats will never return – but they soon do, bright eyed and frisky with excitement.
Dawn breaks at last, the rouge red light bleeds into the weak powdery blue sky as the sun summons up strength to make its presence felt. It is still early enough on in the year to be buoyed up with resolve to maintain good habits, and I open my violin case in order to practise first thing, before the rush of the day takes over. At this time of year I usually decide to play Bach in order to strengthen my violin technique. To me, this has all the fun of a high fibre diet – which I am also sticking to. Instead of bach, I opt for the Philip Glass violin concerto. The mechanical repetition of the endless cycle of notes whirling under my fingers lulls me into the somnambulism that I am trying to fight. My eyes gaze through the window and the mass of greyish brown twigs of a bush next to our front garden forms the resting place for my hypnotic stare. The music continues to churn out ad nauseum, then suddenly my attention is hijacked by an unexpected flash of fire. A robin is tucked away inside the heart of the twiggy tangle outside. The cadmium red of his breast is like a beacon of hope in the still of winter.The warmth of the colour radiates a glow within the darkness of the branches, and echoes the rosy tinge of the sky above.
There is always beauty to be found in the darkest of mornings.