In a blue sky, there’s a ragged thickness of cloud above the valley, maybe grey, maybe rain-filled, but now, before the sun rises, light from beneath the horizon colours the underbelly of the cloud with pink then gold.
The deepness of the colour intensifies by the second, as birds call from each side of the valley and far off to the left, a massed honking of unseen geese. The Hawkduns and Mount Ida are deep blue, the paddocks of long grass tawny-grey, the willows dark brown. All drama and light is in the sky. On the lawn, sparrows in the damp grass, their soft whirring of wings towards the pines, the dark bouncing of birds on air, and over the paddocks and then the poplars and further and further away, a hawk sailing.
The air is fresh. I’m wrapped in a blanket on the edge of the verandah, my feet on stone. When I look up again, the cloud has shifted apart, teased out, become grey, become white, become gauzy blue like the sky. The light now bright over Mount Ida and the first rays on Blackstone Hill, a warm gold on the ridges and gullies and tors. Each morning its tussocked sides the first to announce the coming day.
Black hawk soaring in front of gold clouds, where the sun takes its time to bird song: plover, paradise duck, magpie, starling, and the first bright disc over the Mt Ida range, a shining forth through the poplars. Blackstone Hill, on the opposite side of the valley, brighter and paler, answering back. Now the silver birches are golden, the willows lit up, the long grass with seeded heads shining.
In summer, when the sun rises over Rough Ridge, the mountains become translucent, pale as the sky, but now with the sun lifting over their ridges, they are blue-black, a solid line of horizon while in front of me now even the small blades of grass shine green, the marigolds orange. Warmth now, and sun on my fingers and pen. Behind me the shards of rainbow rise from Blackstone Hill to the clouds.
It’s not all brightness. Now that there’s sun, there’s shadow; the long forms of dark from pine and poplar and willow. But there’s colour too, the willows no longer sombre but yellow and green, the broom dark green by the stream, the cherry blossom leaves orange and brown and red, and on the Hawkduns now, as the sun lifts higher, their slopes become a lighter blue, there’s the remnant white of snow in gullies, the long spurs visible.
Then though there’s sun and light and blue sky, it begins to rain, a fine passing mist, light filled. And still the birds sing, and sing.