The Circle Game
Lithuania is truly beautiful at this time of year. The ground is covered with a fine layer of snow, the skies are clear and the sunsets are magnificent. We can watch the sun setting from the warmth of our conservatory. It happens to coincide with our afternoon coffee and we are both drawn to the rapidly descending circle as it approaches the horizon, steaming mugs keeping our hands warm.
Going outside to take photos is a whole different ballgame. Daytime temperatures are currently between -15˚C and -20˚C (5˚F to -4˚F), with night-time temperatures dropping as low as -27˚C (-17˚F). Venturing outdoors requires planning and preparation. Walking the dog (which needs to be done twice a day) means covering every inch of yourself with thick clothing, leaving just a small gap for your eyes. Going to the shop for groceries requires at least 40 minutes notice in order to de-ice the car. The weather is so cold that there is ice on the inside of the glass as well as the outside.
I have to admit I’m quite enjoying it. Despite the extra preparation needed to go outside, this weather is far preferable to what we get in Ireland at this time of year – grey skies, damp air, whirling winds and day after day of rain. We are lucky that our house is warm and cosy, and we are using our inability to go outside as a good excuse to catch up on our reading.
Today, though, the sky was particularly beautiful. It was clear but not blue, with a slight haze that played wonderfully with the light. As I watched with sun sink lower and lower I knew the sunset was going to be spectacular. I asked Arūnas to quickly de-ice the car while I grabbed my camera and got wrapped up. We made it to our vantage point just as the sun was tipping the horizon. It took less than 6 minutes to fully disappear from sight, with me running up and down the road in the snow trying to get a good shot. Given the short window and the fact that my fingers were numb from the cold I’m very happy with the results.
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the turning of the seasons. Each one brings new joys to ease the hardships of the one before. Winter brings a time to rest after the tiring work of the harvest. Spring brings a reprieve from the cold weather and short days of winter. Summer brings long sunny days to work outside, tending crops for the winter ahead. Autumn brings abundance – the fruits of endless days toiling in the garden. And so it goes, round and round. “We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came, and go round and round and round in the circle game.” (Joni Mitchell)