I was awake in the hour before dawn, when the air is full of birdsong as small winged creatures rise before the sun. I laid there and listened to them chorusing, watching the sky outside my window lighten from deep, clear indigo, to cobalt and charcoal, to denim and chambray, to chambray and mauve, then pink, and - finally - to pale blue peaking through a white and grey blanket, glowing with the softest yellow at its eastern edges.
It was light enough to go for a walk.
There is something magical about our neighbourhood streets very early on a summer morning: Evidence of people all around, but almost no people at all. It's as if for this short interval of time each day, the streets and yards have been givne to other creatures and, they, knowing we are absent, make the most of the opportunity.
Deer, unable to resist the table spread before them, graze at the edges of manicured flower beds. The fawns are larger now and no longer hide in the shade. They venture out instead, to breakfast beside their mothers while a single stag stands head raised, vigilant at the edge of the shrubbery, watching the sidewalk as his family dines.
I know that he sees me so I move as smoothly as I can, careful not to make any sudden gestures that will frighten them. This is not a time for photographs. The act of raising my camera would surely send them bounding away, and I want to enjoy their company.
Someone keeps a dovecote nearby. I've yet to find it, but every morning I am greeted by the doves, who-who-ing in concert from the telephone lines. Sociable creatures, they gather in groups and settle in for long conversations.
As I walk, they suddenly fall silent and move from their perch to the foliage of a large chestnut tree.
I look up in time to see a peregrine flying overhead, circling and watching, predatory in even the outline of his wings. The quiet continues for some moments after he has flown from view and then, a few at a time, small birds resume both voice and flight.
Along the fences, old fashioned roses are in full bloom. Many as simply flowered as a wild rose but bright with different colours, they scent the air and scatter petals on the pavement. Bees avail themselves of the cooler morning temperatures and busy themselves among the flowers. Butterflies light, perhaps to drink the water beaded on the petals, left by sprinklers chut-chut-chut-chut-chutututututtering back and forth across the grass.
I make my way back towards my home, circling around the back of the building to enjoy the coral bells growing in the shade of a red leafed plum tree and there, on the lawn, I find a tiny treasure. The shell of a robin's egg lies in the grass, it's bright blue jewel-like in the morning light: A perfect gift with which to start the day.
Whatever your day brings today, I hope it presents you with a moment or two of quiet in which to contemplate its gifts. Hold the small things close to your heart and treasure them. In the end, they may well turn out to be the biggest things of all.
Have a wonderful Wednesday.