Notes written for Saturday 20 October, 2007
1 am: set off from Luton - the forcast was for a cold clear night and a sunny following day. Arrived at Croft Castle at 4 am. Wrapped up warm and set off to walk up the path to Croft Ambrey. A clear sky, no moon, but enough ambient light to enable me to see my way without the aid of a torch. Fortunately I know the path well. Climbed over the stile into the field with the spanish chestnuts - startled some nearby animals, cows or sheep? No idea what as I couldn't see them! Through the woods the path was barely visible in the darkness. Very quiet - just the odd rustle here and there in the undergrowth - deer? Also an occasional owl, otherwise I was surprised just how quiet the woods were.
On reaching the top, I was surprised to the the quarry on the opposite hillside working. A mist was covering the valley below me and the orange lights of the workings created an eerie ghost-like presence as they reflected off the wisps of mist - like something out of a thriller or a spy film (remember Disney's 'One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing'?). I thought about the old trees I had passed - just able to see their silhouettes. I wonder how much our fear of the dark comes from scary films and stories? Above me the sky was clear and full of stars. I never see a sky like this in Luton, too much light pollution. Saw quite a few shooting stars, also one very bright star that seemed to out-shine all others in the East/South East - looked very distinctive - a planet? Definately not the moon. I just awaited the lightening sky, the anticipated and expectation was almost overwhelming. Like awakening to something new and unseen, a new experience, What would the dawn look like? What colours, smells, sounds would I sense? I sat, lay and walked on the cold damp grass. Waiting. Letting the dawn 'be'.
Gradual rays of light seemed to fill the sky fom the horizon, almost imperceptible, then the light got stronger. Blackbirds began to chatter and other birds could also be heard around me. Deer sounds too? The misty valley took more definition - the hills seeming like islands. The red sun broke the horizon. Frost lay in the low lying pats of the hillfort. Four Sheep and a crow. The landscape around silent apart from the sublte sound of the quarry (which if I moved away from the summit and down the slope disappeard behind me), an occasional vehicle in the valley and a possible tractor working in a far off field. Several owls, Tawny and Little, heard. The sun appeared at around 7.45am.
This is my pilgrimage to Croft Ambrey. It is a place to 'be' and I value it hugely. Standing alone on the dark hill beneath the star filled sky. I am at peace. I am very cold! The grass is wet and cold, I lie on it. I ma in this place, this place is in me.
The shooting stars are so fast - perhaps the fastes things I have ever seen - a fraction of a second they take to cover their path in the sky. Such a fine flash of light.
I dance in the light of the rising sun.
This dawn is my dawn. It has become part of me, part of my memory. An experience of transformation.