It is dark as we walk down the lane, the small dog and I, yet a bird is singing, opening the gates of dawn with a joyful song, heralding the day without yet knowing what it will bring. For now it sings alone, a brave voice in the darkness, but soon others will join with it. The song is no more than a communication with a mate or a defence of territory, or so they tell us, but to me it speaks of something deeper. It sounds like trust in whatever the morning might unfold, confidence in the rightness of life, facing the blank canvas of the day with a wild joy. It is almost as if the birds sing their symphony at dawn to remind us of that. As if the presence of their song in the world brings us closer to the divine simply by existing. You get strange thoughts in the stillness.
As the sky begins to show that first, creeping edge of light, half seen through the early mist, the air is opalescent; an unearthly glow that seems magical enough to walk on, a trail through the portals of time and place that could lead you anywhere and anywhen; a pathway to possibilities unknown. I wonder where it would lead if I followed the winding plumes of mist, dancing with the mistwraiths over the fields, laughing with the spirits of the trees as they shake their fading summer garments in the breath of morning, tinged now with the first golden flames of autumn.
There is that faint tang of woodsmoke in the air now, fires are being lit at night and the fragrance lingers still beneath the trees. The earth has that rich, damp smell that I love and Ani runs, nose to the ground, exploring the scents of the night. The damp bark of a fallen tree provides a place to sit and watch her play. I should have the camera, but the morning is enough and I do not have the skill to capture her shadowy form amongst the deeper shadows of the wood. I wonder if the tree knows how much life it harbours still, fallen though it is? So many mosses and beetles, so many birds will feed here when I leave. I feel as if I could sink into the tree, be absorbed into its being as it is being absorbed into the earth.
We wander back through the tunnel of trees towards the dawn and turn down the lane as the sun begins to rise, back towards the cares and duties of the mundane world and away from the misty morning stillness. I wonder which is the greater reality and where lies the demarcation between the two? There is no stile, no kissing gate to mark the crossing between the wonderland behind and the everyday world ahead and yet, there is a numinous border where the weight of care falls from tired shoulders as you cross and, on the return, the knapsack is once again hefted into place. Perhaps that crossing point lies only within, and perhaps we carry it with us and could cross any time we choose, and erasing the border feel that the gateway to a numinous dawn les within. Perhaps that is what the birds are telling us when they sing the night into morning.