The alarm has to be set ever earlier for adventures in the first light. Although we’d planned an early morning run, once Radio 4 interrupted our unconsciousness at five thirty, a slower start of coffee in bed followed by a woodland wander was clearly the more palatable idea.
The serenity of an early morning in a town isn’t recreated at any other point in the day. By the time we left the house, smudges of colour were gradually brightening the east while the last of the night was seen off to the west. The usually busy streets of our town lacked motion, the only discernible sound was that of the dawn chorus.
Minimising travel time led us down empty country lanes to Newtown and its surrounds. It’s a popular spot but not at this time on a Sunday morning. Heading straight into the woods, the sun was high enough the brighten the treetops, yet we wandered in shade, between hazel coppice, small oaks and the ever more numerous flowers of the wood in the spring.
We left the cover of the canopy and into the fields where the dog could safely run off the night’s accumulated energy and enthusiasm. Away across the creek, rising and falling flocks of gulls were causing a commotion, yakering and jammering over unseen spoils. Still close to the woods edge, the passerines serenaded us much more tunefully. The light shimmered on the high tides of the creek’s fingers, and transformed the grass from its usual mundanity into a sea of shifting light. Hedgerows already dripping in white were suddenly glowing as if from within as the earth turned and the sun rose and gained power.
Not much over two hours since leaving the door, we returned to a town just gently emerging into a beautiful blue spring day. Distant car doors slammed and church bells rang as we sat down to a still early breakfast, the peace of an early start ready to lead us through our day ahead.