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Spanish Secrets: Red Moon Rising

"The seamless blue sky is broken only by wispy-white vapour trails created by passing airliners. Like long straight chalk-marks on a pastel blue board, they linger in the air broadening and contorting as they fade from view...'' Craig Briggs describes in poetic detail the wonders of Galicia's November days.

The weather over the last week has been quite curious: at times ordinary and at others extraordinary. The new days commence without drama, marked only by a brightening of the atmosphere, as a new morning creeps in from the east. A thick grey ethereal mist clings to the ground, motionless in the breathlessly still, cold, damp air.

Dew drops form on the grapevine training-wires which surround the house. These small droplets of water appear like tiny clear glass bubbles: rows of sparkling sequins circling the house along straight parallel lines.

As morning progresses the temperature begins to rise. The dark mist starts to pale and brighten: the sunís powerful radiance exorcising this ghostly shroud. Its grasp on the earth becomes untenable. Like the steam from a kettle, it rises, slowly at first, until the fierce sun pierces through its veil. Higher and higher it climbs before finally dispersing and filtering into the cool blue sky.

With the mist removed the sun begins to warm the day. The seamless blue sky is broken only by wispy-white vapour trails created by passing airliners. Like long straight chalk-marks on a pastel blue board, they linger in the air broadening and contorting as they fade from view.

The arcing sun remains low in the sky. In its gaze we relish its victory against the season, but its appearance now is brief. Although short and infrequent, its triumph reminds us of long, hot, lazy, summers. Lengthening shadows alert us to the early evening. Just enough daylight warmth remains in which to test the progress of our maturing wine.

Our evening wine tasting has taken on the guise of a celestial ceremony. With due care and reverence I dispense a generous measure of white wine into a small clear glass jug. In a far corner of the garden, endowed longest with ultra-violet, we sit around a small table. Sipping from tall-stemmed elegant wine glasses, we savour the changing flavours. Itís currently a mellow apple-cider colour, neither dry nor sweet, with a palatably fruity alcoholic flavour. As the sun retires over the horizon a chill nips through the air, bringing our ritual to an abrupt end.

The waning sun in the western sky heralds a red moon rising in the east. This red-textured giant looks close enough to reach out and touch. During it slow ascent, narrow bands of clouds, silhouetted black in the bright moonlight, float across the sky. Dissecting the moon, these clouds form the eye of a tiger whose gaze from the heavens lowers to earth. This is a surreal, science-fiction landscape not even Hollywood could recreate.

As the moon ascends its colour transforms, from a raging fiery-red to a bright yellow glow. Our night-time rural scene is tinged with a silver luminosity and strong jet-black shadows. Our beautiful day has ended leaving us eager for another to begin.

email address
craigandmel@msn.com
Copyright © 2005 Craig Briggs

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