The phoenix, as any Harry Potter fan in recent times will tell you is a bird that rises from an inferno while it is still ablaze. There are in fact many metaphors for that process in nature. At present we are in winter in the UK. It is often perceived as a dark time, eerily spooky and dangerous, which it can be. In reality is no more or less dangerous than any other season of the year for each has it's perils to avoid; especially if you are a gardener regardless of whether you grow your own fruit and vegetables; and of course both arable and livestock farmers know nothing but dangers in every season.
It is often the case that in the midst of our darkest days, bright lights shine more brightly or can seem to due to the chiaroscuro effect (sharp contrast of light and dark). It is far more pronounced and obvious when things seem so bleak. Things are not bleak though as nature is busy, as we are, for the arrival of spring, A time for renewal. If we have been kind to nature, she rewards us as per her promise. She is rather vague at times as to how though, I must admit. It can take a lot of figuring out especially down my allotment.
When archiving my old photos I came across a few I took of Luton right at the start of it's renewal. Since then it has resembled a bomb site but thankfully thus far without the bloody corpses, bomb craters and walls peppered with bullets and all kinds of shrapnel. I remember at school a Lebanese girl shocking us all by bringing in a 3 inch bullet that had narrowly missed her head while she had been sleeping. She dug it out the wall as a reminder for all time of how close she came to death that night without fully knowing it. Back then kids did not have phones with cameras which is probably just as well for her. It kept her safe so that she and her family could find a safe haven here in the UK.
Adults too were far more responsible with their cameras, as was the media. People were asked permission and general photographs of school plays were not a problem for anyone. When I first produced this last picture I didn't see the angel figure that others saw but, with a bit of photo manipulation I was able to bring it to more obvious prominence, so we never know quite what might emerge by accident. Others have seen all manner of wonders in the picture ranging from body guards to naked women (of course!). I will leave you to your vivid and hopefully positive imaginations for the rest.
Winter as a season gives us time to reflect on many things. It is the season in which we experience our deepest yearnings and when we renew our vows and recharge our batteries to go forward to rekindle brighter beacons of lost hopes and dreams of peace, love, freedom and unity. With that regard, I believe in magical fairies and I believe a phoenix lives in all of us, don't you?
(With thanks to Hugh for his inspiration and encouragement)