Rapturous May morn
Sunday may 1, 2016
It's 4:30. The loudest blackbird ever is singing his head off in a tall tree
in Savernake Road. I am silly with rapture, nay, I confess I might be a
little in love with that blackbird. The sun is not yet shining, but the
clear dark sky promises that it will do so, in time. Hey so why not sing
We gather quietly, spring flowers clutched in cold hands, the 'Oss, the only
creature warm at this moment skitters from foot to foot happily and nods its
We puff dragon-breath as we walk up the hill. All around us a teaming
Corus of birds, fills the sky. It's a merry piping, a dazzle of sound; each
song distinct, each claiming their own tune and rhythm as they sing joyfully
to drive away the fast retreating night.
Dark trees stand in silhouette against a high domed deep blue sky. A bronze
sickle moon sinking deep into the west faces the reddening east. Beneath
this, the mist on the lake curls lazily upwards.
We move across the heath, climbing steadily to kite hill. The twinkling red
lights on the tall buildings of London are spread out below. The western
tall buildings glow, the first to catch the rising sun in their shining
The birds build an ever crescendoing fanfare of song. In and out dart
blackbird, thrush, robin, wren, tits and crows. Pigeon's lazy coo is soon
to join, but the invader paraqueets are still abed. We breathe the cold
thin air and marvel at the clarity all around, as the light grows.
After a song or two, we move across the heath, stepping over brooks,
clambering between trees and logs. The ground is drier than it might have
been had it not stopped raining a few days ago. Contented mallards quietly
quack to each other as I climb over a ditch, the tree trunks rocking with my
We stand below Boudicca's Mount, facing the sunrise. Our view to the sun is
obscured by the bulk of another hill to the east of us. It is as though
someone turns up the dimmer switch, the tall buildings in the west glow ever
more brightly as the sun climbs further above the horizon, till first the
tree tops then their trunks, are gilded with its promise of morning.
The sky, now split by a high silver vapour trail from an unheard airplane,
lightens as the earth turns. The red of the east now becomes orange then
gold, the sky azuring as the morning begins to blaze.
At last, the sun reaches round the hill; its long golden beam touches my
legs tentatively, then more warmly as it grows stronger. Gradually it
begins to temper the chill left by the bitter north wind. Something wakes
inside me and, like the blackbird; I throw back my head and sing.
"Sun is shining.
I'm so sexy!!
This is my tree".
I roar it raunchily; cheekily infectiously. We all bellow it out. The joy of
life smacks me in the chest. My face splits in an enormous grin and I jump
up and down.
"We are the rising sun.
We are the change.
We are the ones we are waiting for,
and we are dawning."
Now for the walk through the woods in the sunrise. We step carefully
downhill, making our way rather circuitously across towards the Kenwood
Spring. Some great metal monster has ripped a series of huge rents in the
heath. These are the new flood defence works.
The tears are festooned with still living trees and bushes, all in various
states of spring preparedness, from the new green curling leaves of the oaks
to the frothy white of the may on the hawthorn. In the steep banks the
patches of grass, amongst the mud and the tumbling stones tossed carelessly
across the way by the earth-moving equipment, white, blue and yellow flowers
flutter in the bitter little wind that is the last of the northern weather
front, now retreating against the warming of the earth. The ground beneath
our feet is pitted and stone-strewn. WE make our way carefully, lest we
twist ankles or worse.
The heath is ours today. We've only seen two others. We walk and sing and
smell the heath as it warms up, stopping to admire nature in all her spring
Turning to look back on the way we have come, someone spies a white figure
in the distance. They say it looks like an angel with a brief case! It
turns out to be a late comer to our journey today, wearing a white nightie
she won in a Witch camp raffle.
Kenwood Spring is still shaded by tall trees. They do not offer us shelter
from the bitter wind. The spring splashes and gurgles. it's warm and
rusty-tasting, slightly thick. I wonder at the taste and whether it is the
spring itself or the pipes in which it is brought to us.
We are early. It being a Sunday the cafe is not open till 8. We have time to
dawdle and admire, breathe in the beauty of the morning as we make our way
The sun is out fully now. We walk back into its full glare. The paraqueets
have woken. Their piercing squawks dominate the birdsong.
Back at Boudicca's mound, the benches are in full sunshine. We sit down to
bask, rest and wait, after all, the cafe won't be open for 45 minutes. It's
I raise my face to the sun and relax. My limbs are pleasantly tired; my
body zinging from the exercise. How nice it would be to wrap myself in a
blanket and go to sleep.
My companions remember its breakfast time. Reluctantly I get up. Though we
are hungry, our progress is less than purposeful. We stop to group-hug a
very large oak.
The streets are deserted. Our cafe already has a table of 8 breakfasting
police officers! We settle down to feast.
Warm now, I suddenly find myself thinking of my mother. I wonder how she
might discourse on the refraction of the rising sun on tall buildings, the
structure of the throat of a little blackbird that makes it sing so loud,
the science behind that vapour trail so high up in the sky, why the moon is
bronze when she is old and just before the sun rises. But she's not here to
ask. So I'll just have to imagine.