Friday, November 29, 2002

This morning, sleeping on the front porch, nestled in a down sleeping bag, I was awakened by the sound of an eagle whislting in the tress below our house. When I opened my eyes, and turned to see him, my head was filled was the most astonishing light. The sunrise was turning the altocumulus clouds blood red and the sea was the colour of a pale rose. This lasted for nearly twenty minutes, the colours growing more and more intense and the washing out as the sun finally rose and shone brightly through the small gap between the bottom of the cloud deck and the horizon. We had sunlight for ten minutes before it rose above the grey clouds, and the sky and the sea returned to the colour of steel.

The eagle, the grey, the coming winter, especially when contrasted with the unreal colours of the sunrise put me in mind of a poem by Denise Levertov about settling in to life on the coast:


I was welcomed here—clear gold

of late summer, of opening autumn,

the dawn eagle sunning himself on the highest tree,

the mountain revealing herself unclouded, her snow

tinted apricot as she looked west,

Tolerant, in her steadfastness, of the restless sun

forever rising and setting.

Now I am given

a taste of the grey foretold by all and sundry,

a grey both heavy and chill.

I've boasted I would not care,

I'm London-born.

And I won't. I'll dig in,

into my days, having come here to live, not to visit.

Grey is the price

of neighboring with eagles, of knowing

a mountain's vast presence, seen or unseen.

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