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A Love Letter to the Night…

After all the activity of a long summer day on the river, a calm has come. As the sun sets, the wind, which had filled the sails of boats, is now a gentle sigh and the river has become softly rippling mirror, reflecting the world through which it flows.   I feel immensely lucky to be able to remain here, watching and listening as darkness slowly envelopes the world.

A beautiful night to be on the river...

A beautiful night to be on the river…

Hours pass almost as minutes as the landscape around me becomes ever deeper, more mysterious and serene than it had seemed before.  And now the clouds clear, and a waxing moon illuminates the landscape in a pristine glow. I hear a tawny owl that is flying from tree to tree, calling into the night.  Then a deer barks and another returns its call.  An otter tracks along the river bank on its nightly forage.  Then the moon sets, like the sun before it, carried beyond the horizon as the earth spins through space, revealing an exquisite night sky, bejeweled with stars…
I recall a chapter in ‘The Outermost House’ in which Henry Beston says
For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars — pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time.
The Milky Way rises in glorious splendor over Martham on the Norfolk Broads

The Milky Way rises in glorious splendor over Martham on the Norfolk Broads

Back in 1928 Beston realised the beauty of the night was truly underrated in by society and this remains true today.  Every street light seems determined to ruin our night vision and every other house detects your presence on the road outside to shine a spotlight on you.  There are fewer and fewer places in the UK where you can still see the Milky Way.

Beston goes on to say…

Learn to reverence night and to put away the vulgar fear of it, for, with the banishment of night from the experience of man, there vanishes as well a religious emotion, a poetic mood, which gives depth to the adventure of humanity.

And so tonight, and any other night I can arrange it, you will find me here –  somewhere on the river, staring in wonder at the starry sky, the gently flowing river and the beautiful darkness enveloping the landscape…

Boats wild moored on the River Ant under a starry sky.

 

Night falls at Acle, on the Norfolk Broads

Night falls at Acle, on the Norfolk Broads

 

Stars through the trees on the bank of the River Ant

Stars through the trees on the bank of the River Ant

 

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