I am always painfully, acutely aware of the fading light at this time of year. I really do not like the fact that the lights have to be switched on as early as 3pm, that the children come home in the dark, that I can't take photos after lunch, that it seems like ages till spring.
But this year I am determined not to see the waning light as a negative hole in the day. Instead I'm thinking of it in poetic terms, such as 'half-light' (WB Yeats), or the the 'violet hour' (TS Eliot) or 'dusk, 'gloaming', 'twilight' and 'crepuscule', and engaging with it rather than denying it from behind drawn curtains. And, funnily enough, it is Virginia Woolf who is reshaping my view.
I picked up a copy of the Selected Diaries last week, wishing once again that the 5 volume set was as easily available as it once was (when I was reading library copies I should have been investing in my own volumes as I went along). VW's diaries are simply wonderful, but what has really struck me in the last few days is her way with the weather and the light. I've been reading entries for October and November and the sparse but beautiful details of her afternoon walks with Leonard by the river or in the parks near Richmond, returning home to tea by the fire.
That's the way to do it, I see now. I need a fire, good books, gentle lamplight, tea and cake or crumpets. But first I need the walk (with or without my own Leonard), the bite of cold, wind or rain to make me appreciate the coming indoors. Then, and only then, will I be able to wax lyrical about the dusk.