The START of the Day (Five Minute Friday)

It’s a glorious feeling: being woken up by just reaching the natural end of sleep and by the light – light that permeates even the heaviest curtains to whisper a good morning in my ears and still closed eyes.

I creep downstairs and put on the first coffee of the day.

But I’m called to the windows, drawn by that golden low light of early morning, spreading over the hillside opposite like honey, gilding all the houses and undergrowth with an inner glow. It’s like tea to a thirsty soul. So gorgeous, that I throw open the French doors to let more of it onto the house and my vision, even though this northwards facing slope is itself in shadow.

Perhaps it’s the contrast with yesterday evening: our hopes of a painterly sunset washed away by grey drizzle clouding the view like garden fleece. This morning the air is free of moisture and clear, so clear, as if the new day has wiped away the accumulated smears on its glasses.

There is a warm cool freshness as the year teeters on the edge between summer and autumn, the change of colour on the edges of the leaves gleaming in that same dawn radiance. And I can hear the chug and rat-a-tat-tat drumbeat and roll of boat engines in the harbour below, like a band leading the carnival parade just around the corner.

The light, the view pulls me forward onto the terrace. And I stand, coffee cup in hand, soaking it all in, noticing new and familiar details afresh: pinpoints of swaying pampas grass; a pirate flag; a little white and glass conservatory peeping out from between the greenery; the brightness of berried shrubs and dancing laundry on a line; the vividness of painted window frames against white walls; leftover raindrops from last night globuled on leaves on our patio.

Strange how it’s the low light that transforms like this – not the obvious overhead-illuminating-everything light but the catching-you-by-surprise playing-with-shadows light, that only comes at the start and end of days and years.

And I think of the mellow fragile beauty of the start and end of lives and see its echo.

The main feature of Five Minute Friday is our weekly blog link-up. Each week Kate Motaung provides a one-word prompt, and we all set our timers and write for five minutes flat, then post our writing on our respective blogs and link up our offerings on that week’s Five Minute Friday post. You can find more on this week’s prompt here:


Boscombe Looking BACK

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt reminded me of a poem I wrote about one our favourite places. It’s only an hour and a half’s drive away and great to escape to for a weekend, a day, or just an evening’s walk along the prom in any season.  So this week I’m sharing that poem with you:

The low late light is too dazzling to look at directly,
Obscuring all into silhouettes at most.
But look the other way
And see what golden beauty the blush glow casts
On large and small:
Myriad minion suns burst
From the gorse covered cliffs;
Skyblue sea silver broidered with waves;
Rain clouds lined with hopeful edges;
And my beloved’s face reflects
The outer and the inner light.


TURN (Five Minute Friday)

I stayed up far too late last night. And all for the sake of a thunderstorm. Not because it kept me awake or frightened me, you understand, but to enjoy it…

The last few days have been unseasonably hot and sunny, like July in April. We’d eaten meals in the garden until the heat drove us back indoors. A smattering of damp air yesterday afternoon cleared the built up humidity, leaving that newly wet earth smell, fresher than clothes straight out of the laundry. Then the sun and heat and cerulean sky returned.

Strange how the weather can turn.

Late into the evening our conversation was interrupted by the loud rumble of thunder. Straightaway I was at the window, waiting for the accompanying lightening. The whole sky flickered like a faulty light bulb. And then I was counting the long moments to the next thunder clap to see how close the storm was. My dad had taught me that each second’s difference represented a mile in distance.

In fact, it was my dad who had taught me to love a thunderstorm, just like he did. This was nothing to be feared; this was a glorious show by creation to be relished! He joked that the lightning was God flicking heaven’s lights on and off and the thunder was God rearranging his furniture!

As a teenager, when a storm came at night, I would hide behind the curtain next to my bed to watch the natural pyrotechnics out the window. Now I sit my conservatory where it’s more like Ultra HD and surround sound.

How could I not stay up?

(Five Minute Friday is a community of writers who each write for 5 minutes on a given prompt word each week. More responses to this week’s prompt can be found here:


SUNRISE (Jesse Tree Day 21)

There are nights when I don’t sleep well (stress, hormones, illness – they’ve all played their part) and there are nights when I haven’t slept at all. On those nights, having abandoned hopes of unconsciousness and diverted wandering brain with writing or reading, there comes a time when I am distracted by the indigo inkiness of my back garden  gradually diluting into a dove grey as the night imperceptibly retreats before the dawn.

Sometimes the sky just fades to white or the pale blue of washed out denim. Sometimes it is streaked with candy floss pink and apricot. It brings feelings of quiet peace, acceptance and hope alongside the exhaustion. As the new day begins, ironically, it’s when I’m most likely to finally fall asleep.


If I look at a photo, I can’t tell (unless I already know the compass direction the camera was facing at the time), whether the colour streaked sky is a sunrise or a sunset. Either brings great beauty; it’s just the order of the process that is different.

With a new addition to our extended family this month and the realisation that another member may be reaching the end of their journey, it strikes me that there is great beauty to be found at the dawn and dusk of life as much as at the start and finish of a day. Everything is simple and vivid; it’s just the order of the process that is different.

For those of us with a faith in Jesus, we know that the sunset and the sunrise, and everything in between, is not experienced alone, that, as Henri Nouwen puts it in the prayer at the end of this post, Jesus is the ‘master of both the light and the darkness.’ We know too that every final sunset will be followed by an ultimate sunrise. This prophecy by Malachi, which is what this Jesse Tree symbol represents, promises this:

‘For you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its rays.’

(Malachi 4.2b)

Let’s watch both the sunrise and the sunset with hope.

Lord Jesus,

Master of both the light and the darkness,

Send your Holy Spirit on our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say. “Come, Lord Jesus!”

(Henri J.M. Nouwen)