Northern Skies

3.22 pm and the sun is setting over the Yorkshire moors. The train, a relic from the nineties, chugs along parellel to the old Roman road, silhoutted by the winter sun. As the traffic slows to red lights, the train cruises on, taking Christmas shoppers and early finishers home.

Every tree is a spidery outline, every house an isolated shadow. The sun sinks faster and faster, painting the sky in every shade from blinding yellow to a soft marshmallow pink. The ensuing glow reflects from the bare hedgerows, giving life to the lifeless shrubs, creating beauty in a desolate landscape. 

To the left and right there’s nothing but land, fields of dried green, hybernating in the December chill. Sign posts send you off to amusingly named villages that are visible thanks only to their church spires peeking out from the valleys.

And down goes the sun, a little more each minute. In it’s place, the street lamps and Christmas lights, which keep the warmth in the world as the last trickle of winter sun disappears.

Eventually, the flat eastern landscape becomes the rugid and undulating hills of the west, a different kind of beauty, a different kind of bleakness. There are a few more minutes to enjoy it before it’s all lost in the dark. There is another half an hour to gaze across the views under northern skies before blackness envelops it all, before the sky succumbs to sunset for the long winter night. 


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