Magic in Clay
On the road...

On the Hill


Here is my morning ritual: I get up and get dressed at an early hour, usually before the sun comes up. The house is quiet but for me and the pup, for my husband is a later riser than us and I cherish this morning solitude...when dreams, images, and ideas float to consciousness in the liminal space between sleep and wakefulness. I feed the pup; make coffee for me, pour it into a thermos, and head outside: to the studio, and the hillside beyond, where my day properly begins.

As we enter the woods, the pup and I, the pathway splits into three directions. Tilly, eager to race ahead, looks to me to know which one to take. In the past I would signal to her with my hand, but lately I'm trying to teach her in words: "Bees," I tell her when I mean the trail that runs near a place where old beehives are kept. "Woods," I say when I'm heading for a mossy perch in a circle of holly and oak. Or "Hill," I say. This third direction is Tilly's favorite one of all.


On the hill, we climb to an old iron bench overlooking the patchwork of Commons and fields, and the blue-grey slopes of the moorland beyond. In this season, the feathery fronds of the bracken are turning the hillside from green to rust.


A rising mist often swirls at this hour as I drink my coffee. (Italian roast. Strong.) Tilly prowls through the bracken, or grazes blackberries, or sits near my feet as the day slowly brightens. . . ears cocked, nose twitching, alert to each rustle of animal, wind, and spirit.


I've been getting up early since I was a girl, chasing sunrise and magic in the unlikeliest of landscapes. How I wish that young girl could sit here with me now; she would marvel to see just how far we have come.  There she is: a flicker of a shadow on the hillside, by Tilly. There she is.


And then she's gone.


oh wow, does your beautiful Tilly dog have good taste!! what a special way to wake up. your pics and words are always so uplifting. thankyou so much for sharing. i only wish i had the ability to share the beautiful place in which i live. i am so lucky, and so grateful. have you any new work in the pipeline? ox

p.s. i sometimes miss the little girl i used to be, although i don't think i've changed all that much. i'm still a dreamer and lover of trees. but it would be nice to have a chat. one of my favourite of Leunig's writings is...Come sit down beside me
I said to myself,
And although it didn't make sense,
I held my my own hand
As a small sign of trust
And together I sat on the fence.


Always been more of a sunset person myself, but I share that love of the early morning when everyone is asleep, even if I see it rarely. I often imagine conversing with my younger self and, in times of uncertainty, with my old self, with who I'll be when I'm old. I find it strangely comforting. Thanks for a beautiful post.

Oh, and Ah, and if only my thoughts could transport my body to that place, that morning mist, the heather sweeping low with the wind, that dog seeing everything, and the smells almost palpable under that glorious day rising. Sigh for the sight, and a sigh for you two.

Ohhhh what a landscape.... so beautiful! You are truly lucky to be able to walk your morning walks in such dreamful place!

This is such a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you.

That's beautiful, Margaret. I been a fan of Michael Leunig's for a long time. I love his cartoons too. Always beautiful and quietly thought provoking.

Gentle beauty in your morning. I love the bracken turning rust and the low hanging mists. There is such magic in the awakening day, this morning its cold enough to light a fire and sit with my French Roast and dream with the flames. Lovely to share your morning, though I know that yours is no longer.



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