The late onset of spring here in the UK has meant that every evening there’s been a silencing sunset over south London. Thursday’s was stand-out spectacular.
I get whimsical during sunsets at the best of times. In our current situation, I can’t help thinking that the recent fiery horizons hold some very strong metaphors.
Much more practically, it also reminds me that: a) I’m currently well enough to be enjoying luxuries like this and; b) I’m lucky enough to have a balcony that I can watch it from, while still observing our lockdown rules.
What initially caught my attention through the window were the upwards ‘God rays’ shooting from the horizon into the dark clouds above. Unusual enough to see even if you regularly make space for dusk in your day.
Like most great sunsets, this one was made infinitely better for the dark clouds it was contending with. As the sun began to drop quickly, it occasionally won the fight, creating white-gold clouds where only a second ago there had been nothing but slate grey.
To my surprise, a plane started crossing my lens. Planes usually dominate the sky here. A view that looks south between the flight paths of Gatwick, Heathrow, City and Stansted airports is very rarely clear of the best known carriers. Although recently, it has become an event to glimpse even a cargo load flying overhead.
For almost a whole minute the silhouette occupied its own spot of blue amid the clouds, perfectly framed.
In April the sun’s trajectory is still on the rise, so I get the remnants of sunrise and all the trappings of a sunset every day before it travels further around the horizon come midsummer. During this week in particular, it appears to kiss the tower of St Peters Church in Brockley each evening before it disappears.
Then I looked behind me. Something that I once learnt on a beginner’s photography course.
The peak of the sunset in the glass clad panels of Lewisham Shopping Centre had set the whole facade on fire. Its reflections back-lighting my main scene perfectly.
Blink and you’ll miss it.
Much like life in general, by the time I turned back the sky had completely changed. The sun was clinging onto the horizon, burning through the silhouetted trees as if cupped by their branches.
Only a few seconds later, chill set in and the dusk drained the balcony of any lingering warmth from the day. Just before heading inside, I noticed that every single cloud was tinged for just the smallest of moments with not just a silver, but a golden lining.
Darkness had fallen everywhere but there.
A very literal example of the linings that we’re all trying to search for right now. A reminder that there’s always going to be light, even at the end of the darkest of tunnels…