Backlight.

Sunday afternoons in the back end of the year create a the sort of contrast that makes everything look cut out and two dimensional. It's somehow very English, making perspective clear and orderly to arrange. It smacks of the clarity of Constable, and uses the sudden brightness of the lazy sun to bring the detail of the scene to the front, picking through small flecks of light and shadow to allow each shade to breathe. 

I like the power of this backlight, this way of illuminating an object or idea from behind, so that the membranes are revealed and the edges are highlighted. It takes an ordinary scene and gives it an otherness; making us think again about what surrounds us and how we respond to it - how we fit in. Whether that is the revelation of the beauty that exists where you live, or the understanding that truths that you have taken for granted about the world, about yourself are misguided - or just wrong. 

The change of the angle of the sun gives us these lighting changes, realigning (our sense of) perspective, casting light on the normally hidden face. Winter is sharper, both on the skin and the eye; but of course it is the sharpest season, trialling us physically and mentally, and the light we can find is so much more precious and precarious. The darkness of the season is so easy to give in to: pull the covers tighter, grimace at the marching of the rain, sneer at the thought of decoration, imitate the action of the squirrel and sleep until spring.

Yet while I too worship at the alter of 'bah humbug', the time taken to dress the world in preparation for the this time of philosophy, can bring out the red of a Holly berry, a bulb in the dark, though poisonous if indulged on. So, if rampant consumerism is ignored, the celebration of introspection and the need for community can be a joyful act. If understood to be personal and generous our celebration of winter can act as a filter, with the light shining through.