Green Shoots

Wild West Yorkshire, Christmas Eve, 24 December 2010

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APPROPRIATELY there are a few snowberries left on the straggly plants that have colonised the disturbed ground alongside the quarry path. The fir - probably a Christmas tree that someone planted in the hedge - is the only tree in full foliage. In this shady hollow, blackberry leaves are covered in snow but on the railway embankment nearby most of the white is the result of hoar frost, which has left granular crystals on the grass-stems and seed-heads.

The holiday period gives me a chance to play around with Flash, a program that I've never been able to get into despite having read a book about it. So my apologies; it might take a while to download and I'm afraid that it plays continuously as I've yet to explore the option of adding a 'play' button. It works in Windows Internet Explorer and in Safari but Google Chrome seems to struggle with it, although it will eventually play it (for some reason scrolling up or down the page seems to make it spring into action). Hope it works for you:

Flash one of those programs that you have to do rather than just read about but to perform even the simple action of popping an image into an animation you have to know about the peculiar Flash system of putting images in libraries, of creating symbols from the images in those libraries and then using instances of symbols rather than the symbols themselves. It's rather like Socrates Allegory of the Cave in which - thanks to the philosopher's insight - we realise that the reality we think we're dealing with is actually created from the shadows of puppets. To be honest, I still haven't quite grasped it - Flash that is, Greek philosophy is beautifully lucid by comparison - but there you are, I've got it work.

Richard Bell, illustrator

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