Saturday 4.55 am. Can't sleep; too much wine last night; the first light is filling the bedroom. I get up and open the window. Jane pulls the duvet round her shoulders, rolls over and grumbles. I look over the fields and listen to the morning.
I love the dawn chorus. Oddly enough, it reminds of university; of the heatwave in my first summer term, and of lying in bed with my girlfriend, too hot to sleep as the sunlight filtered through the thin curtains. I remember trying not to wake her, and listening to the birds and smelling the cherry blossom from the tree in the garden; and of feeling immensely happy in the way you do when you are eighteen and life is packed full of possibilities.
The fields are cloaked in mist, thin watercolour washes of paynes grey, madder rose and cerelium blue. My eyes take a moment to adjust. I lean out the window and listen: a wood pigeon foghorning to the dawn, the crows gathering in the twisted tree by the church, house martins chirping on the overhead wires; two gulls fly overhead, then more. A marmalade cat that I have not seen before, slips through the hedge and makes its way towards Martin's farm. I can hear geese in the distance though I'm not sure where they are from.
Sometimes, when we see the familiar in a different light it can be as fresh and surprising as anywhere new. Looking from my window, I had the sense of a place I'd not seen before, of coming and goings that passed me by. These were different fields to the ones I knew, the village wasn't the workaday jumble of cottages that I barely noticed each morning, the old drove road which is opposite my house (blackberry lane my boys used to call it) was timeless in the golden light.
As the mist lifted, the street and cottages reasserted themselves in proper order, the fields I knew came back, the crows flew off towards the coast. A bird (a dove I think) was standing sentry on the telegraph pole outside our house; it was watching me closely.