I‘M UP EARLY. Peeking at the dark window now and again. Do I really have to go? I‘m somewhat doubtful. It is only five o‘lock in the morning, freezing cold. Why would I want to walk in the dark, across the fields and through the forest! Even if I know the way. It is not far. I am not taking Foxy, my dog, as she might disturb the wild beasts making their nightly rounds. I must break the ice after a long cold winter and resume my photography hikes at dawn. I must get back into the groove. This is far from easy after months of a very basic routine: my bed – translation work – sheep feeding – translation work – my bed again.
I hesitate just a little longer, making strong sweet tea in my thermos flask. Take another look out of the window and notice a hint of light above the tree tops in the east. No time for musings! It’s been such an effort to get up this early and now I should not fail myself. I quickly grab my rucksack and head out into the breaking dawn.
It‘s light enough to walk and I don‘t need my phone flashlight. There is one thought that keeps nudging at me: when I reach this beaver-made swamp, I shall interrupt the peace and quiet of the kingdom of the beasts: the moose will be forced to rise from their beds, the deer will be glancing around nervously, not sure which way to escape best, the cranes will cry out, flap their wings majestically and fly away to somewhere quieter. And as if to add to my worry, the last year‘s grass, frozen to the ground, crunches noisily under my feet, sending echos deep into the forest.
At last I reach the swamp. It‘s cold, its‘ quiet and it‘s completely empty – not a living soul. I relax – I shall not be held guilty for invading into the privacy of the Others. Start looking around for something that would attract my eye and could, perhaps, make a good image. Many years ago beavers flooded this birch forest and it turned into a swamp. Now its a dead forest of white birch sticks. The white bark should catch the light of the dawn. Slabs of ice are still adorning the ground. Their edges have been eaten away by the sun which rises higher and gets warmer by the day. I hope to get a nice image or two.
I walk freely across the swamp, as it is still hard. Put my tripod, attach the camera and compose an image. The sun is ascending inch by inch, although I cannot see the fiery ball yet. The light, the colours change constantly. It is very quiet. No early birds fluttering among the tree stumps, nor a small mammal rushing through the dry tall grasses. Only the ice cracking at the far end of the frozen swamp, and a lake, still locked under the ice, sighing heavily in the distance. In the meantime I click the camera again and again to catch the changing shades of the dawn.
The sun has risen. One would think that its appearance above this icy swamp should cause a joyous furore! Not at all. The sun is greeted by a single tiny bird who sings his little song bravely from somewhere among the bare branches of a willow. By me, too, albeit mutely.
The bright sun in the bright blue sky (how did the clouds disperse so quickly?!) bleached the colours. It‘s time to return home. I pour myself hot sweet tea to warm up my numb fingers, sit for a while sipping and contemplating this morning which has just gone into the past.
I take the same path back and cross huge patches of snow still lying in the shade of the forest. I notice not so old foot prints of moose – we have just passed each other in time.
As I walk the sun rises higher and higher and you can feel the warmth emanating from it. A lark brakes into a song above the dead cold pasture. He flaps his wings so energetically and sings so tenaciously to wake up the earth, that it should definitely come to reason and open its green eyes.