Early light as seen from the rectory garden
After some days of rain, the beauty of the Isle of Purbeck emerged from the early morning mist yesterday, as if freshly minted in the filtered rays of glorious sunshine through a cloud-streaked dawn. I drove, entranced, to Wareham, to drop a passenger to the station. We spoke of the autumn fields, especially across the water-meadows, where the mist sits as a gentle blanket on the damp grass. At one point we saw just the heads of cows - their bodies were hidden completely - it was comical, but, more than that, we knew that it was just caught for that moment only. Such fragile loveliness. Within a little while that inexpressibly beautiful scene would become a normal field once more.
Had we gone the other way, to the sea, no doubt the light would have been special on it too. There is a peculiar milkiness that we often see in Swanage Bay. Even if the weather is overcast, the sea can look almost oily, like molten pewter, especially if a full moon is peeping through the clouds. At dawn yesterday I imagine it would have been on fire, as the sun found space beside the Isle of Wight for a dazzling statement of new day.
Columns of black smoke arose in the clear sky where two steam engines awaited their tourist trains, marshalling near Swanage Station. New born lambs - an unseasonal sight, gambolling in a field beside the line - and hedgerow apples lie fallen, and others above still unpicked, remind us of the richness of this Dorset countryside. Not just a special place of God’s beautiful earth, but a fruitful one too.