Bright and Dark

December in Dorset: low sun, long shadows.

Maiden Castle, Dorchester. Full moon before sunrise.

No towers and turrets, but a monument to living in this place. The long bulk of the massive hill fort looms. Cold air in your nose; you see a few sheep, some dogs and dog walkers, early joggers running up the hill.

You climb to where the path, steep and white-chalk slippery, leads down and up again between the earth bank rings. These ridges clothed in grass were once stripped bare, to be seen from far away, startling white or glowing pinkish in the rising sun.

Walking a narrow path across the broad green top, you wonder how it must have been to wake up in this bitter cold.

The hilltop catches every wind, but then there were enclosing fences, and the shelter of round houses warmed by fire. Perhaps, like tipis of the plains, they all faced east towards the rising sun and away from the prevailing winds. There would have been the smell of smoke and cattle, and many people.

A lone jogger runs the far ridge outlined against the sky.

When you reach that place and climb and walk along the top the other way, the low sun is already yellowing the grass. A shadow strides along a shadow ridge as if it wants to meet you at the corner.


13 thoughts on “Bright and Dark

  1. This is one of those places I’ve had on my list of ‘must sees’ for a long time, and now I’m adding ‘at dawn’ on a clear day. The photos are lovely, but your words evoke a mood, too. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

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