Early Birds

Early morning sky

As I suspect you are aware, I am not an early riser. Today however was different. Today I was collecting my friend who has minced her fingers – mowing machines do not play fair – and she needs tender loving care. This meant an early start.

I am not used to seeing the sun rise in summer, nor to walking as the birds exercise their territorial rights with such gusto. Hoover was flummoxed and had to be beckoned from her bed, not that she is ever reluctant to come for an extra hug. We were not the first up by any means. Far across the fields a tractor was grumbling at the ground as flints rang out against the plough. The sun was only breaking through the clouds occasionally and last night’s dew still clung to the hedgerow.

Dew on grass

Dew shimmers in the early light


Dandelion clock

Each tiny wisp is individually tipped with water

I am entranced by the effect of the dew on the plants; less so when it soaks through my trousers, but not annoyed enough to stop wandering into the long grass to examine it more closely.

In Cheshire at the weekend we saw a harrassed looking woman tying paper trails into the hedgerow for a chase on Tuesday. Has she headed south to tackle our paths, too, I wondered.

Paper trail tag

Sudden ties have appeared on the arching brambles

Suddenly the sun broke through the cloud, warming our backs and sending long shadows clambering up the hills ahead of us.
Shadow walkers
I have never seen this before. In winter, when the sun rises late, we are often witnesses to its arrival, but it rises to the side of this path, not at our backs. Hoover was oblivious, but I loved my long legs and Giacometti head.

The paper trail launched off to the left, but we had a journey ahead of us and left it to its own devices, heading instead for the summit. As we descended on the far side of the fields Hoover discovered that the tractor was not the only one working the fields. Badgers have proliferated and new sets have been dug along the sides of fields and paths. It looks as though some inexperienced newcomer is thinking of setting up home out in the open. How long before it succumbs to a second passing of the plough? Or abandons this started tunnel for a more covert patch? We shall watch and see.


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