Evening (Part 5)

In the handful of weeks between around about the autumn equinox or maybe the August bank holiday or perhaps sometime in between and some time before the day when the return of GMT shunts what daylight remains to these islands over winter to well before most of its citizens finish their working day is a short period when darkness falls at a time that is it is available to some of us at least, sometimes, to watch it happen without skipping work early or staying up a bit too late for a school night. It is as satisfying to be out as the day turns to night as it is to be around for the reverse process. A kind of calm descends on the fells; livestock seems less skittish, hobbit-footed grouse venture from the heather to pad around the grazed-short road verges, the soft rustle of breeze through bronze leaved branches or a stoney-bedded beck tumbling down an unseen gully come to the foreground of the senses, the echo pings of bats hoovering up bugs bounce unheard around the sky, and then there are owls; the to-wit-to-woo from the woods of the tawny variety, the silhouhette of the short-eared version gliding gracefully across the rough grassland it timeshares with the miltary training school or the one that hangs around barns, rare as it is becoming, underwings white and a yard across catching the light leaking from a bike headlight like the ghosts they were once thought to be. Soon all this will happen unseen, during the week at least, and evening bike rides, starting out in the dark as they will be, as dependent on will power and motivation as on time or weather or being able to find my left hand glove, although having a certain strange appeal will be by comparison joyless utilitarian affairs but these glorious few weeks, nearly over now, of seeing the day to the end are to be made the most of while they last.

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