We know we bang on about Yangon’s golden hour a lot around here. Truly, it’s a thing of beauty and if you’re lucky enough to have experienced it, you’ll know what we’re talking about. But we also can’t deny the brilliance and wonder of dappled, dewy English light.
To anyone who doesn’t live here, it might seem like a funny thing to celebrate. Isn’t England always…grey and rainy? Sometimes, sure. It’s a definite frustration. But in a weird way, the grey and wet skies give the light a certain quality. A freshness that you don’t get in Burma.
There are cloudless blue sky days in winter, when the air outside is nearly 0º but the sun is warm, and even though the trees are bare, the sun finds different places to glow upon: lush green meadows, towering mirrored buildings, unkempt hedgerows.
The emergence of spring brings with it that hazy morning light that settles after sunrise and catches you by surprise as it streams through the window when you’re doing something pedestrian, like the washing up from last night, and you notice it fill the kitchen while everyone else is still asleep. The way it illuminates the dust in the air, these little specks floating in suspense.
Summer skies mean holding the heatwaves, hot and heavy air from the glaring sun. Often, on these days, the sky is that deep blue, the same hue as your favourite pair of jeans, and perhaps on a train ride out into the countryside, you see the streaks of white light up in the sky from jet streams, or what feels quintessentially English: big fluffy, marshmallow white clouds that lie still in the heat. Pink skies at sunrise. Yellow skies at sunset.
There are mackerel skies, where the clouds come together to form rows and rows of undulating ripples, so called for their resemblance to the pattern of scales on a fish. There are, of course, blankets of grey where the sun is desperate to burn through, giving the light a flatter quality.
And in autumn, driving down quiet roads as the sun goes down, the sky the colour of orange wine, and the leaves turning a similar shade of gold, auburn, burnt orange, flame red. A familiar nip in the air, preparing us for the onset of winter, yet the skies still burn bright, holding onto the heat of summer.
Yes, there’s a lot to say about English light. Now, just look up.