Usually we write about our collective endeavours here on the Greener Dream but recently I decided to do something just for myself. So what follows is an account of a solo adventure that proves it is not always necessary to travel far to behold the world from a different perspective.
I armed myself with some warm clothes; a blanket, pillow and a couple of battery operated candles and slipped out the door one morning this week at 4.15 AM.
I was greeted by the sound of the Cuckoo in the West and Venus hanging low in the sky next to the fairy tree up on the hill. It was very difficult to capture this on camera but I have brightened a shot up here to give you an idea of the serenity and beauty present. A band of lighter sky could be seen in the North-East, confirming dawn was not too far away.
I was accompanied by the cat after a few minutes and we took up residence in an old rattan chair in the back garden.
4.35 The lonely Cuckoo is suddenly joined by lots of other birds singing and the chorus grows steadily louder over the next five minutes. A bat swoops around the corner of the house and flitters soundlessly through the air before it sweeps past my face, so close that I can feel the air move. I feel exhilarated and full of joy.
4.46 I decide to wander around the garden and as I walk to the front of the house the waning sliver of the moon rise in the South-West, illuminating the night scene further. The star magnolia blossoms can be seen as faint white clusters against the darkness of the shrub.
The bamboo stalks stands out in stark relief against the moonlit sky and my thoughts go to an old Japanese print.
5.00 I venture back into the house for a few minutes and make a cup of tea for my frozen fingers as much as anything else.
5.10 Moving back into the garden, I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she proclaims; “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Suddenly there are colours everywhere, when ten minutes earlier I felt like I was part of an old black and white movie. The moon keeps rising and a light drizzle falls softly on the ground.
5.15 The bird song has intensified and the dawn is filled the sound of dozens of different species of male birds, singing their heart out to try and attract a female. A lonely crow flies across the brightening sky.
5.25 The first car comes travelling down the lane and the spell of the quiet night time adventure is broken but only slightly.
5.30 A few sheep and lambs join in the chorus along with the familiar sound of the collared doves crooning.
5.46 A mouse scuttles across the gravel path outside the gazebo where I have taken refuge and the cat springs into immediate, swift action. For a moment I think the mouse manages to escape but this is quickly followed by the realization the cat has got the better of it. The head is bitten right off in seconds, and I stare in squeamish fascination as the rest of the mouse is devoured in less than a minute, accompanied by the crunching sounds of the little bones breaking.
5.53 The sky is starting to get a pink tinge and the clouds develop golden linings. It starts to rain again, very lightly and I wander around the garden snapping a few photos and enjoy the stillness and brightness of the morning. Inside the house the rest of the family members are still sound asleep.
6.02 The dawn chorus has quietened down slightly and a night of wonder, beauty and in some cases sudden death has come to an end.
6.19 The sun is up and casts it first few tentative rays across the garden from behind the trees across the road. The second car of the day drives past and it is time to head back to a warm bed for a short slumber. The moon is fading away against the brightening sky as I go back inside.
My fingers are so stiff from the cold that I have a difficult time opening the front door, but I am thrilled with my early morning adventure and I will definitely do it again soon. I hope more members of the family will join me then. It is a very special feeling to wake in the dawn while the birds sing all around you and the colours of the garden slowly come to life around you.