22 December 2020

Yesterday’s winter solstice, and the rare alignment of Jupiter and Saturn both passed in a blanket of dense hill-fog, but Venus blazed cold and bright, low to the south-east in the pre-dawn sky, as I opened the gate this morning.

I stood admiring it for a couple of minutes, putting off the inevitable annual hell that is the Big Christmas Shop. As I did so, the silhouette of a barn owl quartered our farmer friend’s field beneath the so-called Morning Star. I hadn’t seen the local owl for several months, so an un-looked-for joy.

It’s little, unexpected wildlife encounters like these during the normal day that mean the most, I find.

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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