This evening, as the light faded and day became night, I watched the huge, pale moon, lightly veiled in wisps of clouds, bobbing and weaving between the bare branches of the trees.
We were in the car, driving home. Depending on the lie of the road, the moon sometimes appeared high above the trees, shining through the inky sky, sometimes low, barely above the hedgerow. Sometimes to the left, sometimes dead ahead.
It brought back sharp memories of this time last year. Most evenings, at about 7pm, as soon as I had finished teaching, we would leap into the car and rush the twenty miles to the hospital in order to snatch an hour with my mother. Then we would return to a ridiculously late meal, usually around 9pm, before falling into bed, to sleep before the alarm went at 6 am the next day. This was our routine until she was able to go back home in February this year.
A year ago, my mother wasn't able to eat or drink normally. All fluids and food had to be thickened to a kind of paste and fed to her using a spoon. She was very confused, in a lot of pain, confined to bed, unable to even sit up, and pretty much completely helpless.
What a contrast, between then and now. Today we spent a pleasant morning in the brisk Autumn sunshine pushing my mother around the town, looking at the market stalls and searching for a winter hat (we found a lovely soft cowl which does double duty as hat and scarf). Then we went to a local restaurant for lunch, before going back to the residential home where my mother is staying for a week's respite.
The same moon, the same inky-blue sky, the same bare-branched trees. A new year.