Break of day

It’s one of those early mornings when you think summer has finally arrived. No breeze rustles the leaves of the trees, nor ruffles the surface of the bay where the gentle tide rises and falls, imperceptible except for the kelp giving it away as it sinks and rises on each tiny swell. A large pod of humpback whales passed by in the night, gorging on krill – such a tiny organism to sustain these behemoths of the sea and a lesson to be learnt there – but no sound carried ashore as they splashed and blew. The strong southeaster of the last week has fallen still and the palm tree fronds no longer wave flag-like before the gale – they droop as all respectable fronds should, a little shredded and dry but still standing proud against the skyline.

The birds perch among the branches of the old gum tree, feathers unruffled as they wait patiently for the first cast of grain across the bricks – if not forthcoming, they will peck happily on the grass seeds that are plentiful after a rainy season that has extended well into December. A black sparrowhawk swoops arrow-like from above and snatches an unwary pigeon from flight to carry away and breakfast on. Not often witnessed but a frequent event over this area where these birds breed so successfully.

In the background, the golden light of dawn tinges the mountain slopes, pushing the deep gullies into stark relief with the ever-changing shadows of the seasons. The cloud cover that has cooled the valley is gone and car doors can once again be opened without fear of banging the car next to you, and boot lids can be lifted without losing lighter items to a whirling tornado to join the relentless litter that lines the roads. If a R10 note were snatched by the wind, its owner would surely pursue it to the very end – if only such energy were applied to wrappers and plastic bags.

School’s out for summer and so early morning traffic will be minimal and make the trip from Kommetjie to anywhere at least 30 minutes shorter, allowing the pleasure of sipping an espresso on the deck while appreciating this stunning early morning in our little piece of paradise.

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