Stepping between long shadows

Stepping between long shadows

It’s a terrible thing to admit to as a writer, but every now and again I need to be reminded to take note of the world around me. Taking the time to observe, but just as importantly and infinitely more difficult trying to maintain a frame of mind in which I also ‘notice’.

A sunny pavement with the sun low on the horizon  causing lens flare.

A burnished pavement on the way out of Leeds City centre.

Now I’m quite good at the former, taking the time to observe the world about me, this comes naturally whenever I have a quiet moment, perhaps waiting to get on or off a bus, looking up from the book I’m reading in a coffee shop or while out for a walk. But I’m not always so good at just ‘noticing’ the world about me.

Bus shelter bathed in bright autumn sunlight

A bejewelled bus shelter on Burley Road in Leeds

a couple of days ago on my way home from work I was reminded to notice the world about me by a traffic accident. I didn’t see or hear the accident, I couldn’t see any crowd of people gathered around what had happened, I was just waiting at my bus stop on a glorious autumnal evening and the electronic timetable quite silently displayed a notice indicating my next bus had been cancelled because of an accident further back along the route.

Long shadows from trees in a small park.

Long shadows on the parkland near to Yorkshire Television studios.

It was only then, as I hesitated for a moment to think about what to do next, that I realised quite how lovely an evening it was. It was a little cool to be stood around, but a pleasant temperature for walking. The sun was low in the sky, but bright and golden. There was no breeze, nor clouds in the sky, and the route home was only a forty to forty-five minute stroll, even in formal leather work shoes.

So stroll I did, and within moments I realised it wasn’t just a pleasant evening, it was a beautiful evening, and that I was walking almost directly toward the lowering sun. A sun which was gently dazzling most of the time, turning people walking in the opposite direction toward me into gold fringed silhouettes, bathing even everyday objects and buildings in such a wonderful light they suddenly seemed burnished or bejeweled, and casting such impossibly long shadows it was impossible not to be struck by their immensity.

Long shadows and dappled shade between trees.

Long shadows amongst a tree lined verge on Burley Road, Leeds

Now I’m not much of a photographer, and I don’t really believe in stopping to stare at a small electronic screen when I could be looking at the real thing, but to me it seemed all but impossible not to take beautiful pictures in such light, which I’m including here.

Perhaps I’m just feeling nostalgic for the summer which has passed, but despite walking beside a road full of queuing commuter vehicles keen to get home, it was a delightful trip.

A golden haze in the air above Burley in Leeds. - with lens flare.

A golden haze in the air above Burley in Leeds.

What’s more, the steady walk toward the lowering sun, which as I’ve mentioned was dazzlingly bright, but still somehow a gentle light that didn’t demand sunglasses or squinting, is a sensation I’m going to have to incorporate into my writing somewhere, not only that but as i write this a couple of days later from my desk at home, I notice the bright but cloudy afternoon has cleared and the garden is now bathed in that same bright golden light. Time to get out for another stroll I think.