Some people think I'm off my head because I go for long walks in the freezing cold. I say to them that if I didn't walk, I'd get no exercise at all. Well this evening I was well-rewarded. I walked up to the nearby woods (about 20 minutes walk for me, 25 if I'm being lazy and slow), as is my wont if it is late in the day and I don't want to go far. I left the house at 4:35pm. As I was walking down the hill, I looked over the roof-tops and saw a most beautiful evening Moon, with a pale golden hew suspended over a turquoise clear sky canopy. I shivered, since a cold wind blew, and I was reminded of a passage from The Lord of the Rings (can anyone guess which one?); delighted with this, I carried on. I reached the woods at 4:55pm and strolled in.
The woods were nice and quiet and warm, since only the wind was cold and, unlike the last time I was there, there were no people in sight (I walk also for contemplative ends, and I find that people distract my thoughts and ruin the whole time), so it was even better - I had the whole place to myself. I found the broad path that leads up the hill to the open field and I walked along at my leisure. I was thinking about the Blue Wizards mostly, but other things as well. When I got to the field, I looked out over the world and saw what was left of a most marvellous sunset (not the best I've ever seen, not by a long shot, but I have never not enjoyed a sunset); a fiery sky interpenetrated with purple clouds, sadly over rooftops and not the mountains or the sea. I wish I had brought my camera.
I remember talking to a...well he isn't my friend, but I told him one night of my especial appreciation of the great lights of the firmament, especially the Moon on cold clear nights, or sunsets there to illumine and warm the cold hearts of men. I said that sunsets and the moon were always beautiful and poignant since they were so evanescent, rather like the especial form and shapeliness of a favourite flower, like lilies or purple saxifrage - they are always similar, but never the same, and unless they are ''captured'' in a photograph for instance they would remain only in the memory. The moon will only be seen wreathed in silver clouds of a certain shape once, one night only in the vast history of the Earth, and perhaps by only one man, since most people have their eyes downwards. I think this is one of the reasons I like Tolkien, since his own extraordinary grasp of this sad truth is one of the central motifs of his work; the indefinate and irretrievable loss of something beautiful. I wrote about this a while ago in my post on Memory.
I was forced to leave, though, as it was getting dark, and had to take the main road home. Mindful of that passage from The Lord of the Rings, I stopped off to get some wine on the way home...