'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

First frost and morning skies

It was my turn to do the early insulin injection for lovely Maya this morning, but it wasn't easy to pry her and the purring heap of Kali off of me to get out of bed. The house was cold, early cold. Early in the day type of cold and early winter cold. Last night it got below freezing for the first time and we joked before bed as to whether or not our rooftop would be the only one in sight that would be warm and steaming in the morning (due to our total lack of attic insulation at the moment).

But that was the last thing on my mind as I crept out of bed, quickly followed by the ladies of the house trotting along for a nugget or two of food before the jab. As I descended the stairs I saw the furrows the frost had made in the long seaweedy lawn and I heard an abundance of birds chittering and calling, as well as the neighbour's two parrots asking for their breakfast through the shared wall in the kitchen.

The sunlight fought overcast sky but some rays made it through and the grass was melting before I got my boots on. I left the cats to munch and walked out the back door and into the garden. I gave the birds an extra heap of seed, warmed their bird bath water with room-temp from the tap, then snuck back in to watch a hoard of blue tits take turns at the feeder. Then our pair of blackbirds came in together to pull out worms, our collared doves and pigeons for the seed on the ground, the robin first busy in the tree above.

Once the morning food and insulin was done, I rushed back up to the window in my study to watch the same birds fluttering up into the branches while they waited their turn for seeds and fat balls. Two goldfinches stared in at me, their slowness such a contrast to the blue tits. This morning, all I needed was to light a candle and settle myself in my armchair. The window held more action than most wildlife programs. As soon as Maya claimed my legs for a nap, I wished I had grabbed my notebook to write, but then thought, why not just watch? Why not just be here in the moment? So I was, as the sky went from bright back to dull gray, as the bird-hopping and bustle slowed down again, as the cold wind shook the few leaves left off the twigs, as the day grew into itself and time opened the day for me.

Remarkable Things

Long grass frozen in waves
Cats at head and foot motoring along in purr
Time I rarely have...slow time...to catch up on reading


  1. Lovely evocative morning writing Liz. Thank you. I have just read with the curtains I closed mid-afternoon as the skies darkened but I am now snug as a bug with my heating this evening at around nine fifteen.

  2. Thanks Monica, it felt important to watch and notice, and then, of course, to write.


Post a Comment