Through the open window I can hear it, floating in with the early morning chill, the faint chorus of birds lilting in on the breeze, cool on my face, curtains shifting slightly. A fast, insistent sound, a hammering on wood, almost a buzz, intermittent yet consistent. I smiled,eyes still closed, and breathed in the familiar scent of a lazy Sunday morning, still, possibility halting, the world still sleeping, whilst the wildlife stirs.
The sound of the woodpecker rings out again, closer now. I hold my breath, waiting for the answering call to ring faintly down the valley, but to no avail. I pull the duvet further around my neckline, and my breathing shallows and regulates.
Later, a well earned break, sipping scalding yorkshire tea from bone china mugs, biscuits smiling up from a licorice allsorts tin. Smells of countryside, of spring, bursting and rushing into season after the extended winter. Three rabbits rushing and chasing and gambolling in the field. A horse rolls in dry mud, snorting and ecstatic to be out and about and full of joy. A lone chicken creeps through the hedge opposite, feathers shining and glossy, strutting up the lane, frequently pecking and exploring in the verges, not a care to be out of the field and on an adventure.
We return to laying stones, the stone wall taking shape, learning, guessing, feeling. I watch my husband, hefting large heavy top stones, filling in the metres and taking happiness we are enjoying this together. Pride in what our small new group of learners have achieved, wonder that this wall will probably be still standing when we are long gone.
Driving, past familiar fields and emerging greenery, upwards, moors and hills and beauty laying out in front of us, parking for a picnic, surrounded by hundreds of years of history, atmosphere, old archaeology hinting at times past and lives lived. Banter, smiles and jokes. Sweet fruit fuels us.
And now, quiet, candles throwing a yellow glow, pink salt crystal picking tiny flashes of light, shadows dance, born by fire. Comfort, resting, stiffness after hard exercise, understanding and discussion, flicking through what we have learned this day. Feet touching legs, familiarity, comfort. Cat curls up, cleaning furry feet, a fluffy circle in a warm bed, purring loudly as usual.
I smile inwardly. I wouldn’t change this for the world.