Cheap thrills

One of the benefits of wintry mornings is that the sun rises later according to the clock, so I need not bolt out of bed at 5.30 a.m. to catch the event.

In fact I can catch it from my bed now, being the end of autumn.

On this particular morning the light flooding my room was so glowingly golden that I knew a beauty was occurring. Bolt out of bed I did, and scurry for the camera. 

It was chilly, but I didn’t wait to throw on more layers, knowing how very ephemeral the sight would be.

Pure gold … and not even a cheap thrill, but free!

As I write this and look over at the shades of grey and white that fill the sky where that glory had so recently been, I don’t like to say it’s banal by comparison, but it is!

At least it is changing constantly, being composed of clouds. Plain blue sky is but a background wash awaiting clouds to give it life.

If you have doubts about that, do check out The Cloud Appreciation Society site.

Moonset, sunrise

With much on my mind re this coal book, the ongoing issues and the ensuing talks and tours, I am up early to start work. 

One recent benefit of this — apart from stopping my kaleidoscope brain from its pointless shuffling — was that I caught the moon on its way to bed, full and bright above the south-western still-dark treeline, which the early dawn light was just starting to colour.

Things change rapidly at that hour, and in the opposite sky, where the sun was about to pop over the mountains, the raggedly combed clouds were suddenly aglow.

Softer pink reflections attended the moon before it slipped from sight into cloud and away — a veiled exit!

Madame Duck

madame-1My erstwhile Wood Duck mother has found herself a special place for her daily beauty ritual.

Not far from my morning coffee spot window there is a large rock, unearthed when building years ago and too big to be easily moved. It awaits inspiration — and energy.

Now each morning Madame Duck comes and stands on it, facing the newly risen sun, and well above the damp grass and its long seed spikes.

She has the ability to turn her head completely back to front – and she does, poking and scouring quite fiercely with her beak under each wing and down her back, fluffing up her feathers and shaking herself to dislodge any small loose feathers.
madame-2Then she adds a deposit to the small black and white pile on the rock. She turns and looks me in the eye — ‘Can’t a girl get any privacy round here?’

No fear — not when you pick an ablutions rock in such easy view.

Duck morning

wood-ducks-1A pair of wood ducks have installed themselves in my yard, which they like because it has a small dam close by. I come across the couple in odd places and at odd times.

The other morning they were dozing in the warming rays of early sunlight; the female remained with her head under her wing for some time but the male assumed a vigilant pose at the first camera click.
wood-ducks-2As he patrolled around her, she awoke and began to groom herself up for the day, fluffing her elegant feathers and ferretting amongst them.

They both have beautifully marked plumage, with secret flashes of colour only fully revealed when they fly. His dark ‘mane’ is not always as prominent as here.
wood-ducks-3Finally, satisfied with her apearance, she gives him a coy look — ‘Ready, dear.’ — they begin the day’s grazing. Incidentally, they also fertilise the yard, as I am constantly treading in it!


Whenever I fluke a morning sky like this, my day starts well.

No wonder artists are inspired by nature!

Even if, like me, you’re not a fan of the colour pink on handbags or cars or bedroom walls, when you see the absolute delicacy of the pink hues in a sunrise sky — you’d have to agree our colourists have gone wrong in their translation from the original.

Mountain morning

mountain mist
A wet season here means lots of mornings when the day hasn’t yet decided what it will do.

At 3000 feet, my place is inside the clouds as they hover between earth and sky, unable to rise above the nearby higher mountains of 5000 feet or more.

When they do begin to lift, the sun gets its chance in often spectacular ways. From the window over my kitchen sink, I get a great view of this brief beauty to the north-east.

Up my track and through the forest, the ordinary is illuminated by a lighting effects whizz.

Spotlit, backlit and highlit, alternating softening and scintillating lenses—trees and tussocks, bracken and bark, mud and puddles—all transformed.

What a start to the day—good morning, mountain!