Thursday 26 December 2019

Solstitial sunrises from a Palma balcony

We lucked out, as they say, with this view from an apartment recommended by our friend Sophie Sarin (currently in tougher climes back in Mali) via her Swedish diplomat friend from Bamako, Eva. It was enough at first to wake when the sun was already bright

and the coast opposite clear

but after an early lifting of the shutters to reveal a sunrise, 7.30am rising became a must. Praise be to the solstice for making such a daily revelation possible - sunrises are usually for me a rare and unforgettable occurrence, like getting up at 4.30am in Göttingen to head out for a clavichord recital by the Seeburger See with the sun beyond the windows rising through the willows. Given variable weather, with only a smattering of rain when Storm Elsa was supposed to be at her height (it was about 9pm and I was on the way back from a free recital of Fauré's piano music in the fabulous Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró (more on which in a future post), no one morning was quite the same as the other. Even on a day when a Mallorcan version of the haar hung low, there was a hint of blurry sun before it closed in,

 There was red sky in the morning on the day of the Elsa warning

after which the sunny weather returned for the solstice days: first heralded by a different kind of red, a rosy-fingered dawn

then as an orb rising from haze

while the next day, Helios made a simple ascent at its most majestic.

The fishing boat on the left seemed to account for the gulls circling before the levee

while I was more hard-pressed to account for the swarms above the terraces of olive trees in Deia; some of them look like skuas, others black-headed gulls.

In our own garden - well-kept, but they need to ditch the noisy, smelly leaf-blowers - the denizens were mainly blackbirds, collared doves and the very occasional butterfly (I think this is a Wall Brown, Lassiomata megera, but someone else may know different).

while down on the rocky seafront, cormorants dried their wings,

poised and skimmed. We could just have been idle, but there was too much to see in the mountains and the wonderful city on our doorstep, where one of the greatest cathedrals in the world had its sandstone facade further deepened by the sun setting opposite.

More on that wonder, on Chopin and George Sand in Valldemossa and Robert Graves in Deia, in future posts. It's nice to be back for quiet interstitial days, full of such vivid impressions and having gleaned such warmth, as well as respite from the sight of our Prime Monster, over 10 days.


Susan said...

Positively gorgeous. Clearly a magnificent, and of course much needed, respite.

David said...

We're still living off the light and warmth, and not feeling guilty after all that running around to have holed up at home for three days...went out last night for a Chinese with friends and godchildren, shelled out Snyder, O'Toole and Saunders to the 'kids' and found that one of the paters voted for the Prime Monster. An old Tory, but I'd assumed of the Ken Clarke sort - and we know how he despises the current bunch.

toubab said...

David, the pictures are wonderful! So glad you made it to that lovely island with beautiful Palma. Wishing you the happiest of New Years, and hoping to see you both soon,

David Damant said...

The present bunch are the result of the decay of the British constitution, the genius of which endured for centuries. But when I try to argue with Clement Attlee that referendums are the device of dictators and demagogues I am accused of being anti democratic. When I defend the sovereignty of parliament and that the coverage the media ( Today Programme, Private Eye) should not be hostile but investigatory I am told that we have to hold them to account because they are corrupt - whereas the reason people think that they are corrupt is the way they are nagged and attacked by the media, so we have a vicious circle. And when I argue against the influence of the constituency parties - well they do all the work don't they? Burke is unknown and if he were known he would be dismissed. With a sovereign parliament we should never have had Brexit, never had Corbyn, things would be properly weighed and debated. And as well as the present horrors the constant bitterness will ensure - as it already has to a degree - that good people will not go into politics. We shall get more demagogues. People who can win campaigns are not reliably the people to run a country, especially without the filter of a sovereign parliament. I fear that to reverse all this may be impossible, and future bunches may continue to be of the same sort

David said...

Sir David - agreed on every point. Parliament was maligned and abused in recent months, but it saved us from disaster time and again. Now 'the people have spoken' again - and the voting majority show themselves to be utter fools for whom I have nothing but contempt. UPDATE: I should, however, prefer it if you tailored the response to the post - I see from J's Facebook that you've just put up exactly the same message there, to stand by itself.

Anyway, as our dear Sophie says sometimes as table, can we put aside politics for a moment and admire the sunrises before corrupt governments burn up/drown the planet for us? Sophie, where in Mali are you now? See you in the New Year.

Jenny said...

Dear David

How wonderful pictures. You are always very welcomes back :-)


David said...

Fell in love with the view, the city, the mountains: I'd never have believed it. So back we will come, Jenny, at some point or other. To walk in the Tramuntana, to work out the possibility even of living there for some part of the year (eventually). I'm sure Valldemossa and Deia are hellishly overrun in summer, but the week before Xmas was unusually quiet...