The dark does strange things to you. To start with there is the strange itching sensation that rests in between your shoulders, the constant disquiet that something or someone is following you. The furtive noises made by animals as you walk by only heighten this feeling. You want to turn round to look but you know that “it” whatever “it” is will still be behind you.
The torch on the phone lights a small circle in front, casting awkward, scattered shadows, just enough light to see where the deeper patches of mud are, but little else.
The dark has fallen quickly. The grey clouds that were on the horizon moved over quickly with the wind. Heavy with their load of promised rain brought damp air with them. While it didn’t fall on me it fell later in the night adding to the depth of mud I once again have to wade through. Since Jan my boots have been dry for 24 hours and never free from mud.
The slow ambling walk, too, and back, from the reserve was nice. The evening was warm the sun was out for a while, but as mentioned, on the horizon was a thick band of cloud. This parted for a while allowing the sun to burst through once more at a low level. For a moment I was joined by a jogger as we both took images. Me, with my DSLR, him with his phone.
All around us were the roosting calls of the birds. Raucous crows, Blackbirds, and the braying honk of both Greylag and Canada geese, which have made a welcome return. Small gaggles now line both sides of the river and I awaiting the little balls of fluff that will soon be accompanying the adults.
In the failing light, to my immense joy, the bats were coming out darting to and fro in the search for insects. I did try to film them, but they were just too fast. I got a couple of black shadows on the phone but nothing recognizable to say what they were. Shame.
Into the gloom along the riverbank to my favorite stop-off point. Now shrouded in the encroaching darkness. Enough light to see generally but not quite enough to see fine detail, holes in the path for instance. Fortunately, I know this path well so avoided the bigger ones. The bird song was starting to die away, but the sudden rush of slapping water startled me. Just a moorhen taking off with the noise of my footsteps.
Now it is quiet. Lights mark the gangway to the boats in the boatyard. A small line of red and green up the side of the bank. A gentle breeze stirs the still barren branches, and they rattle mournfully. We are still in winter, technically, so no leaves are gracing the branches yet there are some buds though not that I could see them in the waning light.
Thoughts turn to home. Warmth and a cold beer. It has not been a particularly successful evening image-wise with only 6 or 7 taken. I am not sure if it was just a lack of inspiration or that I just wanted to get out and used the camera as an excuse. The sunset ones should be nice though.
The darkest part of the walk. 200 yards of mud shrouded on both sides by a hedge. The pitiful light from my phone throws out a small puddle of light. Just enough so I don’t fall over, not enough to remove my fears of aliens and monsters following but never quite catching up. I know they aren’t there. I know xenomorphs aren’t real and no one is going to leap out with a baseball bat. But imagination speaks louder than logic.
Having said this, I have to make clear I love walking in the dark and half-light. It has a wonderful sense of quiet calmness about it. A sense of isolation that does not feel wrong. The feeling that there is another world that you can’t see but know is there when all the nocturnal animals come out to feed.
It’s fully dark when I get in 10 mins later. The house is empty and also dark but that is soon remedied. What’s on TV?
Thank you so much for reading this far. I have an Instagram account where you can see the images from tonight and others that are taken at dawn. Click HERE to be taken there. Please feel free to comment as you see fit