A morning call of the wild

A morning call of the wild

When my eyes opened, the day was just breaking outside. It was still blue behind the curtain, 5.30-5.45 am, I guessed. Save for the rooster, the other birds were still a quiet bunch. I stealthily crept out of bed, as is my habit these days. It’s an art I’ve mastered in order to have a few moments of the precious morning to myself. 

The house is soundless and a deep plum sunrise is forming outside, slowly scattering mist like errant paint. It’s going to be another 15 minutes until the sun emerges from behind the buildings in the distance. Slowly one, then two, then hundreds of birds wake up, all at once filling the air with their chitter chatter. It’s almost like they’ve held back all evening and all night to speak; ‘that’s the rule, kids’ their mothers probably tell them ‘lights out from sunset to sunrise .’

A warm glow fills the house as I pad my way into the kitchen and begin my mental checklist of morning tasks. 

And then I hear it, the unmistakeable cry of a peacock, so familiar from my jungle jaunts that it takes me a moment to realise I’m not really in one right now. I look out the window and strain my ears. Maybe my deep longing to be in the forest is making me hallucinate. Someone’s pressure cooker goes off in the building.

And then I hear it again, the cry of the peacock, followed by another. 

I slide open the balcony door and step outside, and at once I am enveloped by winter. I involuntarily inhale the dry coldness and it fills my being with surprising sharpness. My arms are covered with goosebumps, my feet are numb on the cold floor. A small melancholy creeps in as I realise I haven’t made more ceremony for winter’s arrival, that I’ve been so out of touch with nature’s rhythm. 

Nevermind, I tell myself and atone by taking deeper breaths of my surroundings and wait for winter to take hold of my body. I allow the deep, green scent of the undergrowth to enter too, and with it, connect to the presence of the thousands of invisible creatures around me.

The peacock calls out again and the mist is now languid, making way for the heat of the sun, moving into the colder corners of the landscape. 

When I can’t go to the forest, the forest comes to me.