Season of mists
Anyone who lives close to fresh water will have noticed the evening phenomenon of mist curling up from the water as the air temperature above it cools. We are close to a large river here, but are separated from it by woodland. At this time of year, when the sun sets behind the hills at around twenty past six, the mist rising coincides with children’s supper time, so I often notice it as I glance out of the kitchen window. The first thing one notices is a little stray tendril creeping out from the edge of the woods. Just a little absence of colour in the landscape, a brightness that should not be there.
Watching it is like watching a clock: you cannot see it moving unless you look away and back again. Ten minutes later, the distant cattle are wading in a sea of vapour. White fingers curl towards the two sycamores in the middle of the field.
There is something ghostly about the inexorable creeping of the mist towards the castle. It is a daily event and I understand (roughly, anyway) the physics of it, yet it never fails to unnerve me. All the technological and scientific confidence of the modern world cannot entirely dispel our atavistic dread.
As the light thickens, the undergrowth is full of movement: rustlings and scamperings as rabbits and birds make the most of the dusk. Cock pheasants call hoarsely from the field. On the lochan, splashes and squabbles signify wild ducks alighting for the evening. Tendrils of mist curl up from the water to join those seeping across the field. Time for humans to be indoors. Draw the curtains and throw another log on the fire: out in the darkening woods, it is not our world.