Spring blossoms in December…

Walking home today after a frankly dispiriting and depressing birthday (you know it’s not going to be a special day when the post arrives with several bills and no cards, not inspiring and it was downhill from there – should have stayed in bed and waited for the day to go away), passing the trees in the playground of a nearby school and more examples of how the bizarre weather is affecting plants: blossom petals appearing on the trees.

spring blossoms in December 01

These would normally be a March to April sight, but although we’ve been battered by gale-force storms repeatedly this month and lashing rain and floods, and despite those driving winds being bitingly cold, the actual ambient temperature has been way above what we would normally have in Scotland at this time of year. When I was home last week dad pointed out shoots of Daffodils pushing through the earth in the garden, this week I see spring blossoms in December. Strange weather, lately…

Autumn in Edinburgh

Scotland in autumn, my favourite season here, not just because of the riot of colours as the leaves change, but because of the quality of light we get here at this time of year.

Greyfriars, autumn 01

Because our little kingdom lies so far north, as the world tilts on its journey around the sun Scotland is at such an angle that we have the sun much lower in the sky, casting long shadows and meaning the sunlight is stretched out to a redder part of the spectrum, meaning we get this glorious, golden quality. It’s like warm honey slowly dripped across the land, beautiful copper-amber colour that splashes over the landscape and the man-made structures alike, giving an amazing glow to everything from trees to the old buildings hewn from native stone. Gorgeous.

Greyfriars, autumn 02
(Greyfriars kirk as the evening autumnal sunlight splashes across the western end)

Greyfriars, autumn 03

And right now we’re in that perfect time when much of the foliage is still the deep green of spring and summer (doubtless helped by all that rain we get!) but parts have started to turn now, mixing russet, gold, vermillion and more colours, especially as the sunlight shines through them.

Greyfriars, autumn 05

Blossoms

Windy, windy weather and sudden rain squalls after our little burst of sunny weather. The blossoms on the trees near my flat and on Princes Street are falling as the leaves grow out. A small shower of white and pink petals covering the pavement in random floral patterns. Tonight as I came home the wind caught the fallen blossoms and whipped them up into the air. They arced up and around me, spiralling, diving, soaring – it was if the fallen petals were dancing for me, a last little burst of joy in their brief lives, spreading colour and perfume through the air. Think on the dancing polythene bag caught in an updraft in American Beauty and you can get close to the idea. A tiny moment of dynamic and ephemeral beauty in the fading evening sunlight.