Thursday, January 26


After moonrise had woken me that morning, and after I had danced, I looked around. I was in a metal world. The unflawed slopes of snow on the mountains across the valley were fields of iron. The deeper moon-shadows had a tinge of blue to them; otherwise, there was no colour. Ice gleamed like tin in the moonlight. Everything was neuter greys, black and sharp silver-white. The hailstones which had fallen on me earlier lay about like shot or ball-bearings, millions of them, drifted up against each rock or nested in snow-hollows. My face felt burned by the cold. The air smelled of minerals and frost...

I began walking the monochrome ridge. These were the only sounds I could hear: the swish of my breathing, the crunch my foot made when it broke through a crust of hard snow, the wood-like groans of plate ice cracking and sinking as I stepped down on it. Once, stopping on a crag-top, I watched two stars fall in near-parallel down the long black slope of the firmament.

-- Robert Macfarlane "Nightwalking" Granta 90

on Mountains of the Mind by Robert Macfarlane

more writing by Robert Macfarlane