Sunny thoughts on the longest day

Some friends took their daughters to see the sunrise from May Hill this morning. I thought of them watching the same sun from my garden over a cup of tea. Nothing feels more right than warming your hands on a hot mug sitting in the dim light watching the snails performing their graceful ballet over your bench and garden pots.

I didn’t attempt to wake any more of my household except Mittens who came out with me and perched on the fence behind me doing that funny throaty cat clatter at the sparrow’s dawn chorus. Now a good hour later I’m too awake to slip back into bed. It’s started to rain and the house is dim and gray but very welcoming. I’m sat in front of the illuminated screen thinking stuff.

I always read with envy those day-in-the-life things that begin with; I rise at five so I can have 30 minutes yoga, an herbal tea and an hour to myself writing before the day begins… Envy gnaws my lazy arse, slumber button pushing, five-more-minutes soul. When I do rise earlier the day begins so much more smoothly. Right now I do feel refreshed and motivated by that time alone but I feel it’s not sustainable (being at heart a nightbird.) For lots of people;  farmers, nurses, shift workers – this is routine.

In my damp and happy splendour this morning I was remembering when I used to do the sunrun over the Malverns. A hill climb and walk along the ridge to watch the sun rise from a peak vantage point. The surreal magic of carefully picking your way along the rocky way in the grey half-light and feeling something rising in you to mirror the pink fingers of the sun on the horizon. I had the same feeling on my muddy patch. Primitive sun magic.

As a parent you see more sunrises and grey dawns. Usually alone in your quiet house feeding or soothing your baby and feeling like the only person awake in the world. Often it’s not life affirming. Sometimes it is and you’re definitely not alone, at the very least there’s a hundred snails in your garden performing a mysterious stately minuet. My Granny used to tell us that snails were fairies who’d been banished from the gracious lands. Their shells are their wings glued together as punishment and they weigh them down as they perform their penitent dance for the sun king. How can you stamp on them? How?

What must it be like in the northern lands where the sun doesn’t rise and set every twenty four hours. How do you punctuate your days without the finality of sunsets and prompts of sunrises? Do they resound more powerfully when they eventually arrive. Do you yearn for them?


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