What happened was this. I was standing in the road to take a photo of the trees fading into the mist, when a biker suddenly zoomed towards me. I clicked. Later, too cold to sketch outdoors, I shuffled through my photos and there he was again, dark against the misty trees. Who was he? Where was he going?
As I sat down to paint, I thought he might be the old year coming at me - or maybe the new year looming up and disappearing in a flash. Then I thought he was me: head down, bent over his pedals, alone and going somewhere. I liked his shoe, the crouch of his shoulders, the tilting bike and the trees like silent witnesses.
Then I thought of RL Stevenson's haunting poem I'd had to memorise as a child:
Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.