I left for work an hour early this morning, intending to drive a different route through some of the valley farmland on my way to work.
I drove into town, and then across the Cowichan River bridge and up the winding hill, through a forest of pewter alder and maple trunks wrapped in moss. Up, up I continued through farmland, ending my course at the vineyards in Glenora: trellised vines are already showing their first whip-like shoots of new growth, bright yellow ochre against the somber greens and greys and long blue shadows of the time just before sunrise.
Eagles swooped low overhead scree-scree-scree-ing, shrill voiced, as they hunted for unwary mice and rabbits; much-needed meals at this hungry time of year.
At the vineyards, I turned again, following a winding route back towards salt water and my office.
I passed two goats standing halfway up the angled trunk of a fallen tree, contentedly stripping the leaves from the branches they could now so easily reach.
I passed Keating Farm, with its ruffled garden of dark green winter kale and the first acid green shoots of garlic showing in the rich black soil.
I crossed the old wooden bridge on the Koksilah water and admired the wind-ruffled water, burnished brass by the sun as it burst from behind a dark grey cloud.
On the other side of the road, the warm light caused the weathered, barn red shingles of the old church to glow.
I pulled over to admire the vista across the valley that stretches from the highway towards Cobble Hill: Field after jewel-green field, broad pools of shallow water left by the weekend's heavy rain, blue-green mountains in the distance, bright sun dancing in and out from behind the clouds that hugged the hilltops, and caught my breath as a flock of swans rose before me. They flew overhead so silently that I could hear the whistling of their wings.
Finally, my hour all but gone, I turned down the road to work, rounded a corner and saw this:
I stopped and sat a while, just soaking it up: A truly wonderful way to start the week.
I hope that your day is off to a happy start too, and that whatever the weather where you are, and however long your chore list, you can find a moment or two to stop and enjoy the gifts this Monday brings. Have a joyful day.