Looking Up

From mid-November my grumblings about my early morning commute normally begin to climb towards their crescendo. It’s around this point that the window of opportunity for capturing a beautiful sunrise from the railway station closes and it’s just dark when I set out in the morning, dark during my journey, and dark when I get to the office. Even though I manage to leave around 4:00pm, the reverse journey tends to be more of the same: dull, grey, dark.

Except this past week. Gorgeously clear weather has meant that sunsets have been a blaze of technicolour glory as I ride home, with the sky in delicate pastels of blue, pink, orange and indigo. The black silhouettes of trees, their leafless branches providing the perfect frame, complete the picture and serve as nature’s stained glass. I sit on the train spellbound and watch the scene unfold, with my thoughts about my much-too-early-wake-up call, the day at work, or my never-ending to do lists at bay.

Yet the inability to capture the sight frustrates me. Taking photos from a moving train is difficult under the best of circumstances, and reflections from the carriage have prevented me from getting anything that does justice to the view. However, once I disembark at the station the camera comes out and I snap away.

Despite being in public, I have started to feel like I am in on a secret. No one else seems to notice the sky as it goes through this daily metamorphosis; often, people pause and look at me (“Why has she stopped?”, “What is she taking pictures of?”) and don’t even bother to glance upward. I spend so much of my own time looking down—for litter as part of Rubbish Walks/Off the Ground and metaphorically putting my head down and getting work done at my day job—it’s wonderful to have this chance to look in a different direction.

Elaine Massung Off the Beaten Track
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