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I ‘fess up. I don’t see too many dawns. Those I do I occasionally notice through the bedroom window from beneath the cosy comfort of my duvet.
|Early morning in Top Field|
Usually I only see the night sky turning lighter because the twittering birds have woken me up. I always sleep with a window partially open, even on the coldest nights – the only time it gets shut is when there’s a raging westerly gale thundering in and storming straight into the room. Billowing curtains and a cold blast are not conducive to a good night’s sleep, I have discovered.
There are occasions, though, when I do see the dawn in. Usually because I can’t sleep, as is happening this very moment (I’m writing this at 4 a.m.) I tend to lay there a bit debating whether I really do need a wee or not, then wondering if a cup of tea would be in order; get up to attend both then turn the computer on to do half an hour of work. Which usually turns into at least two hours. I look up: “Oh, it’s got light!” So in fact, technically, I don’t see the dawn, it sort of sneaks up on me.
|Taw Valley Mist from our orchard|
Back in London I very rarely saw it getting lighter and the sun rising, except on specific days when I deliberately got up and watched and waited. Two days – Midsummer and Midwinter.
In London, you knew when it was dawn without having to open your eyes.
No, we had a robin and a wren which sang through most of the night because of the street lighting. The sad thing was (apart from the poor birds getting no sleep) I became used to the sound and stopped hearing them.
We lived not far from the Crooked Billet, which used to be an old pub but is now a huge interchange for the A406 North Circular Road. Anyone who remembers the Walthamstow Dog Stadium will remember the Billet and the original roundabout.
I drove round that roundabout on my very first driving lesson if I recall. It’s a wonder I had the courage for a second lesson.
Anyway, I digress.
In Walthamstow the traffic woke me at most dawns. A lorry thundering by, a siren, car horns. Yes, like the birds I was used to it, but with the traffic there was always a different, annoying sound and that feeling of “hey ho, the day has started."
Here in Devon life is smoother, quieter, calmer.
Dawn meanders over the horizon, it doesn’t bustle in. And it is interesting.
|Taw Valley Mist from Top Field|
Look out the window as Dawn lifts her skirts to show her pink and gold petticoats and you see pheasants feeding in the garden (more about them in the letter F). In the meadow behind our orchard there are often deer – sometimes the big Exmoor Red Deer, not just the smaller Roe and Fallow. The Red Deer are a bit destructive when it comes to crops and trees, but they are gorgeous to watch – the stags are huge beasts, bigger than our Exmoor Ponies (I’ll be talking about them when we get to M.)
|This view is directly opposite our 'front' gate|
And the mist coming up the Taw Valley! Oh it is so lovely some mornings!
It rolls in along the small tributary valley that runs behind our house, sometimes tip-toeing slowly, sometimes trundling, sometimes at full burst charge; stops where the valley rises up to the Chittlehamholt Ridge, pauses then rolls back again, or slowly disappears, the trees and ridge opposite gradually being revealed. Some mornings the mist lays there like a blanket covering the valley but leaving the ridge above exposed - the sun rising to shine on top of it can be so beautiful.
|A dragon in the valley?|
And when you watch it creep in, it really does look like Dragon's Breath!
But back to D for Dawn.
I went for a walk one dawn the first year we lived here (2013). It was special because it was the first time I'd been up and out as the sun came up. It was just starting to climb higher in the sky, shooting colours out and turning the sky from purple to pink, then gold, and everywhere was so still. The air was like smelling nectar it was so rich and sweet.
|the garden and the house mist-clad|
On the grass in the middle field there were dozens of little spider’s nests – they looked just like minute fairy trampolines.
And as I walked up the hill the sun rose between the trees and showed exactly what I was feeling.
Look carefully at the picture...
|Can you see the heart shape?|
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