It has been a frustrating start to the new year, between a cough which hung around for several weeks, icy cold temperatures in the mountains, and weekend commitments that have prevented us from getting out and about.
But one afternoon at the end of January, when I was still feeling rough but in need of some air, the sun came out, the clouds lifted, the sky turned a pale shade of blue, and the hubs and I decided to head out to a nearby park.
Most of the time this park is buzzing with people enjoying the wide open spaces – walkers, joggers, and children playing ball, riding their bikes and scooters, or scrambling around one of the well-built play areas. On a hot summer’s day, the tall trees provide welcome shade for picnics and siestas, and a little red train with a diesel engine that chugs round a short circular track is a huge hit with the little ones (and their parents!).
But that chilly January afternoon, for about the first time ever, we had the place practically to ourselves. A handful of people had had the same idea as us, but everyone else had obviously decided to stay at home in the warm.
The centrepiece to the park is a large, shallow basin. Most of the year it is inhabited by ducks, but on that particular day they were nowhere to be seen. There wasn’t a breath of wind, and the water was as still as a mirror. I had never seen it like that before, and the effect was mesmerising.
Needless to say I only had my phone in my pocket, but it proved up to the challenge of capturing these beautiful scenes.
As we strolled round the water’s edge, the ethereal light from the low winter sun threw the trees into silhouette, conveying a sense of quiet solitude and peace, so far removed from the usual Sunday afternoon animation.
And the effect of the sun eventually setting behind the mountains in the background was quite simply stunning.
After several weeks spent holed up indoors, nursing my cough and feeling low, this unexpected chance to take some unusual photos in a place I knew so well, in such unique (and, it has to be said, cold!) conditions, was a real blessing and gave my spirits a badly-needed lift.
It always amazes me how God can use occasions like this to touch our hearts afresh, renew our strength, and remind us how much he cares for us.
“This is the day which the LORD hath made;Psalm 118:24
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”