Changing seasons, colour perception and the journey to Running Deer

In the interests of openness and transparency I must confess to being colour-blind (diagnosed some 40 years ago!).

Consequently you may decide that some of my observations cannot be trusted!? However despite this, I would like to assert that contrary to popular belief, I do not inhabit a dull grey world, as you will discover if you read on.

Changing seasons and colour perception

As we move into autumn and then winter the drive into work takes on a whole new feeling. More often the windows are shut and the heating is on and sometimes the wipers are beating away the rain, which can give rise to some amazing road rainbows as the spray of other vehicles refracts the sunlight.

This autumn | winter (2018) seemed particularly dry though, and we were regularly treated to some amazing vistas, especially from the road on Mardon Down as it curves north towards Butterdon Wood; the views over Moretonhampstead, variously wreathed in mist, bathed in morning | evening light, or framed by crepuscular rays coming through the gaps in the orange and purple clouds; even an occasional light dusting of snow on the hills behind.

When there is rain about, the clouds take on a slate grey, brooding aspect often with tendrils full of lashing Dartmoor droplets trailing below them.

As all the leaves transformed from green to brown, red and golden hues before falling from the deciduous trees, the oak held onto theirs a while longer and stood out like golden lollipops dotted about the wooded landscape.

Magically, there was a brief point in the autumn when Butterdon Wood changed into a golden, luminous destination as the needles of the predominating larch trees first turned and then fell like a magic carpet to the ground. Now it is hibernating ready to reawaken in spring.

Sometimes, as you come out of Longdown, driving in from Exeter, the valley ahead seems filled with a liquid pool of mist but once past Dunsford and rising up through the woods from Steps Bridge you come out above it again into the sunlight. And at this time of year, the light itself changes too, becoming paler and weaker but adding a certain quality of clarity and brightness.

Combined with this fantastic and varying backdrop is all the wildlife we see on the journey; deer observing from afar, and sometimes crossing the road, though not in the same numbers as the kamikaze autumn squirrels (or with the same disregard for safety); a fox casually crossing a frosty field; the buzzards marching about in the field by Cossick cross or sitting atop telegraph poles; sometimes even a sparrowhawk on the phone wire near lower Pinmoor.

And on the way home, the majestic view along the valley as you turn away from Moretonhampstead towards Exeter coming back around Mardon Down never fails to impress, whatever the weather and whatever the season (and whatever colour it looks to me?).

Dave

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