One of the pleasures of the short days of autumn is doing morning chores in the dark.
I know that sounds weird. I don’t particularly enjoy tripping over the tools someone forgot on the lawn the day before, nor am I overly fond of the cold wind slicing through my jacket.
It’s the sights and sounds of early morning that I enjoy.
Yesterday morning was particularly spectacular. The sky overhead was clear and star-studded—shimmering glitter strewn across the blackest velvet.
But the stars to the south were blotted out, and lightning flashed and forked far out at sea. The storm itself was silent from my distance, but the surf roared with a storm’s fury.
By the time the sun rose, birdsong, barking dogs and the drone of tractors drowned out the sound of the waves. Sunshine masked the flash of lightning as the storm stalked along the coast. The day dawned serene and mundane.
Other wonders have been revealed to me on my morning chores over the years.
A bioluminescent worm in the chook paddock.
Shooting stars streaking from zenith to horizon.
A bioluminescent sea creature frozen in snow and deposited in the garden.
The aurora australis pulsing green in the southern sky.
Rats tiptoeing along the top wire of a fence (I know, rats, ick. But it was an amazing feat of balance).
Little owls cackling in the treetops and swooping silently overhead.
The graceful undulation of a fence during an earthquake.
The comforting warmth of a goat’s flank on a frosty morning.
The gentle caress of a nor’west gale before it turns violent.
The rhythmic heartbeat of the sea at rest.
The clarity of thought on a crisp dark morning, before the stress of the day intrudes.