Saturday, December 19, 2020
I SIT outside in our small backyard as I type. It is exactly 5:43 AM. I have been getting up around 5:00 AM for several days now. Not usually for as long as this, admittedly- about half an hour- discovering all these unexpected pleasures. Even if you do not have a particular reason for waking so early and venturing outside, in these balmy summer mornings I strongly recommend that you do. Just over half an hour ago I sat on this old grey chair, mesmerised by the sky. I thought of a scene in the novel ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’ where Vermeer asks his model/sitter what colour she thinks the Delft sky through the window is. She offers a simplistic, untrained response, acknowledging, I think, only one particular dominant colour. Half an hour ago the sky was mostly blue. Dawn was about to burst. It was so beautiful. But I thought about it further, like Vermeer instructs, and I could also see white and yellow amidst this strangely beautiful milky blue. A little further on, this soft yellow emerged further and started to spread the blue more thinly. Dawning is the day. Suddenly streaks of cloud appeared and shapes became clearer. Then unexpectedly the dominant colour in the sky was pink. Now, at 5:53 AM it is virtually daylight, increasingly so as the minutes slip past. I feel so awake and everything appears now as a typical cool morning, everyday life, a normal working morning if you like. No longer that haunting, hypnotic blue of earlier. Earlier everything was so quiet and still. Now there are sounds of birds everywhere and every now and then some slightly discordant sound of something industrial. We have this new ‘sky rail’ train system operating in our zone. The Moody Blues released a song called ‘Dawn Is A Feeling’ in 1967, on the album that ends with ‘Night In White Satin.’ ‘Dawn is a feeling, a beautiful ceiling, The smell of grass just makes you pass into a dream. You're here today, no future fears, This day will last a thousand years. If you want it to. You look around you, things they astound you, So breathe in deep, you're not asleep open your mind. You're here today, no future fears, This day will last a thousand years, If you want it to.’ I am thinking of this ‘beautiful ceiling’, real and natural and more compelling in its own way than the famous man-made ceiling at the Vatican. How many of these beautiful, natural ceilings have I missed over the years? If this morning is anything to go by, I want to see more and more. Time has passed. It has just gone 6:00 AM. Nothing is quite as magical now. I might go back to bed. Dawn. Dawn. Dawn is a feeling. Dawn also heralds something new, like a new promise or venture. Why have I suddenly made this new discovery? Why have I started getting up so early and drinking in the elixir of the morning darkness into light? It is all down to you, our new baby of the family. Your name is Pablo. You are small, curious, full of mischievousness and life, and bringing pleasure (mostly) in your lovely abandonment to the whole family.