The Lark

Updated: Mar 1

5:30 am

The moonlight brought me from slumber, so bright my mind thought it was daylight. It is just dawn but the moon still rules the skies, for a moment or two anyway. The sky to the east is quickly fading from lilac to a peachy glow.

Moon Gazey swims

Lynne Ropers moon gazey swims;

“We call them Moon Gazey swims after moon gazey hares, who sit mesmerised by the full moon. There’s also the famous Star Gazey Pie, traditional in Cornwall where the heads of the pilchards rise above the pastry, like wild swimmers scoffing their way out of a giant cake.”

My early morning swim is not quite a Moon Gazey swim, but pretty magical and mesmerising all the same. There is only nature. Gulls, curlews, shags and oyster catchers join the dawn chorus of starlings, blackbirds and sparrows.

The sea is perfectly quiet, every few seconds the incoming tide laps lazily onto the shoreline. My footprints are the first on the damp sand, and they sink deep into its soft coolness.

I love the dawn, have always been a lark, not an owl, and get a sense of bubbly excitement in this special first light. I feel like I could be the only human on the planet. That would be terribly sad and lonesome, but for a few moments in this surreal time between the world of night and day, it is a wonderful feeling.

A plane streaks across the sky like a golden arrow shot from space, leaving behind it a trail of sunlit vapour.

As I walk into the sea, the water has no colour, just glass-like clarity. Not until I dive down into the water does it reveal its other worldly colours of greens and blues. I swim in the shallows and two startled crabs stand to attention, up on their tip toes, fighting claws reaching up, before scuttling off across the seabed. My fingers and toes are pinched with cold but I am warmed by the pleasure of the swim.

As I wade out of the sea, the moon is fading and the golden orb of sun bursts across the channel above the Tresco horizon.

Tomorrow I am returning to the mainland for a few days and I feel a sense of loss as I say farewell to the sea, as you would when saying farewell to an old friend. My last swim for a while and I know I will be longing to return.

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