I awoke first thing, to notice that the same unearthly quality of light that defined yesterday's dying sun also illuminated its initial showing this morning: an all-encompassing sulphurous yellow glow which appeared not so much to bathe, but to positively drench all in its sights.
I returned for a while to sleep. When the alarm aggressively brought to an end some quite vivid and telling dreams, the first thing I noticed was the change in the light again: the warmth of its previous state now replaced by a frosty, foggy whiteness.
A fine day, then, to follow through with my plans to head back up to Matlock for another day of walking. I was on my own this time. Company brings with it a completely different set of dynamics on days like this, whereas on my own my thoughts and moods tend to ebb and flow - in accordance with probably a whole number of factors - to sometimes seemingly bipolar extremes.
By way of illustration, here's a not entirely scientific equation:
Mood + thoughts = level of physical exertion +/- blood sugar levels +/- level of hydration (directly influenced by last night's alcohol intake at the pub quiz) + x (where x equals immediate surroundings and my response to them) + y (where y = any amount of memory triggers) x z (where z equals the amount of mental space for reflecting on recent events).
So whereas at many points on my perambulations today I was eager, enthusiastic and full of energy, then at certain moments I either actively avoided particular places due to the memories and feelings they evoked, or I trod a very careful path through them to say the least.
On the one hand, the contrasts experienced on a day like this - warm, bright sunshine, yet with snow and frost underfoot - can be breathtaking, regardless of the relatively modest scenery of Matlock. On the other, it can be like returning to an old photograph: a reminder of absence, or of something diminished - a trigger for recollection, but always linked to the awareness that the moment, in being captured, is gone forever. Thankfully the former took precedence over the latter.
Taking a sidestep from all that, I found myself wondering if I might ever reach a point at which I feel I've taken enough photographs with the camera pointed directly against the sun: on the evidence so far, that looks pretty doubtful.
Oh, and I made friends with another cat.