I've traveled the road to the bay so many times it is as familiar to me as breathing and yet, still, each time I wend my way along it, it offers me new gifts.
Today the roadsides are cottage gardens. A tangle of blackberries and wild morning glory form the hedge, the bright white trumpets of the morning glory flowers turning their faces to the sun while beside them clusters of berries ripen in various stages, acid green, and red, and deep almost-black purple all found together in each single cluster. In front of the tangle, expanses of tall golden grass are trimmed with roundels of white Queen Anne's lace dancing in the morning breeze, while magenta vetch, ragged blue chicory, and tall clumps of bright yellow tansy crowd up against the edges of the pavement.
Here and there, accidental fruit trees grow, sewn by birds or by careless passers-by who've tossed away their apple cores or plum pits and left them there to grow. The trees are heavy with fruit now, their newest branches so laden that they bend like bows, arching towards the grass below. Small green apples, thumb sized pears, clusters of bright red plums hanging like grapes among burgundy red leaves all promise abundance in the months to come.
Our unusual weather has caused many forest fires and the sky is hazed with smoke. It's a worry but - as with everything in nature - the smoke brings its own gifts too. The skies both morning and evening are intensely coloured, and the landscape washed with filtered, golden light.
This morning, the newly risen sun washed the sky above the bay with lavender and apricot, reflected in the dancing ripples of the breeze ruffled waters below.
I ate my breakfast picnic at a table in the park and watched the morning unfold:
Barn swallows and purple martins swooped and soared in an intricate dance above the shallows.
Gulls wheeled overhead, uncharacteristically quiet, as if they too were taken in by the morning's majesty.
Small brown rabbits peeked at me from the edges of the undergrowth and then, when I'd been still for long enough, ventured out onto the grass to continue with their morning meal before fading silently into the shadows once again as an eagle swept by overhead.
The eagle, for one single, breathless moment, hung perfectly silhouetted against the pastel sky, great wings outstretched in flight so seeming effortless I was surprised by how quickly it was gone.
A single fish jumped in the deeper water, the circular ripples left by its course making a contrasting pattern on the satin surface of the bay.
A heron stood across the way, perfectly still, a totem to patience and calm planted at the water's edge.
The village had not yet stirred. There were no human voices, no passing cars to mar the perfect quiet of the moment.
Peace settled itself on my shoulders like a blanket.
My breathing slowed. My heartbeat calmed.
I made my way home slowly along the winding road.
I wish you a happy day today. Whatever it may bring you, I hope you find a quiet moment or two to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Open this Friday like a gift, enjoying both the wonder of its wrapping and the worth of the treasures found within.