Feeling Light


I love the way the light falls at this time of year.

There is a golden richness to it, one that invites you to sit outside for a while with hot tea or cold cider, savouring the last sweetness of summer before the long dark of winter sets in. It feels melancholy to me as well – the bittersweet turning of the year seen in the way that the sun sets earlier each night, sending long furls of colour across the sky.

This may sound like a whole lot of waffle – however, light is something that has always fascinated me. I’ve travelled to quite a few places and each had their own light, caught in the feel of the sky and the way the sun hits the land. The high wide skies of Canada, speedwell blue reaching north. The blinding white hot of a Sydney beach at midday, when to be without sunglasses would render you almost blind. The pearl grey light of the Irish coast, mist from the sea softening the sky. The silver-blue-grey of a Melbourne winter, dark nights and frost on the gum trees. The shimmer of Venice, light reflecting from the water onto ancient pastel palazzos, crumbling into the dreaming lagoon.


I saw the northern lights once. It was in the mountains north of Vancouver, the sky full of stars as there were no man-made lights to obscure their show. I woke in the night to see a slowly expanding starburst of light above me, floating above the dark pine-clad peaks. While it wasn’t the rainbow shimmer of Scandinavia, it was still awe-inspiring to see – one day I hope to go further north and see the curtains of colour ripple across the sky.

I also like the way light behaves at different times of day, and often use it in my descriptions when writing. I think it’s a nice way to convey to the reader what time of day it is, as well as adding mood when necessary. My favourite time of day is sunset, though I do enjoy the early light of dawn as well – there is something about the transition between day and night that I find to be full of potential, stories lying in the shadows between light and dark.



19 thoughts on “Feeling Light

  1. The Northern lights! One day I hope to see them too. I remember the first time I saw the night sky, like a vast blanket, lit only by stars. It was years ago, on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. I hadn’t realised how many stars it was possible to see at once, without a telescope. It was a freezing night but the possibilities, the other worlds hinted at by all those stars was better than any fire. It, too, was a place for stories.

  2. Beautiful, Helen! You have such an extraordinary way with words. Light is energy, so its no wonder that we feel the effects of its play, particularly such dramatic events as dawn and sunset and the Northern lights.

  3. You have captured magic here, Helen. It’s wonderful the way what seems like dots on a flat surface, like LEDs in a black ceiling have a width and depth beyond reckoning. Being frozen while my dad pointed our the constellations and made up stories is one of those joyous memories of childhood that wont ever go, even if I remember the cold as much as the moment of magic!

    • Thanks Geoff, for your kind words and for sharing a lovely memory. I remember looking at the stars with my dad too, when we were staying in a caravan on a farm in north wales – a chilly yet magical memory 🙂

  4. Couldn’t agree more. I also have a thing about sound. Like the snow has a sound to me. Especially if you get up at say 3am when it has been snowing all night, and the ground has that crunchy freshly fallen snow, its a vacuum. It sucks all the sound away and its deafening. Love that. The brightest crispest light I ever experienced was Everest Base Camp. Now that was some sharp light. 🙂

      • 🙂 glad you agree. It’s like my fave sound – I know thats bonkers because it isnt a sound, but its everything, the way the deafening silence wraps around you in a big cold sheet of fluffy snow. bloody love it! ok I sound a little mad!

      • I have… It was life changing… I’ll write a post about it one day. Just need to find something fitting. Base camp and trekked up and summited a mountain called kallaphatar (I forget the spelling) that had the most spectacular views of Everest. U should go…

      • It is my dream to go there and I like to think that one day, I will… I would love to read your impressions, you should definitely write about it.
        The highest I’ve been is the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland, with a stunning view of the Matterhorn. I can imagine this view + the emotions x 100 for the Himalayas!

  5. Lovely post Helen, I certainly appreciate your light waffle! Yes I agree there is nothing like the touch of light on our world to show us just how beautiful it can be. Venice is a wonderful place, I have only been once, but it was a truly memorable trip.

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