For the second morning in a row I’ve climbed the stairs early, to a golden morning. Clear open skies, sharp shadows, a gentle, fresh breeze. The trees are almost all in leaf now, a verdant jumble of shapes, textures and soft movement. The leaves are new, their colours vivid: chartreuse, lime and emerald. But others add softer hues: shades of grey-green sage and viridian, and here and there the pale white undersides of leaves turned uppermost by the wind.
In the field climbing behind the trees, the rich ochre flanks of the cattle ripple under the morning rays. This herd has very young calves, buoyant and bouncy and ever ready to express their energy and life force. Most evenings they gallop and cavort and play chase but in the mornings they are quieter, warming up perhaps after the chill of the night. Yesterday I watched a calf suckling; its mother placidly chewing whilst her calf took a long draft.
But then, as I watched, there was a sudden, urgent, flash of movement. The entire herd started running, galloping upwards and along the top of the field. Spooked, perhaps, but by what? Ahead of them, running hard the against the hedge, something moved at speed – much faster than the cattle. It raced the length of the boundary. Was it a dog, worrying the cows? Surely not: it was ahead of them. It vanished as quickly as it arrived.
This morning I had my answer. A single deer climbed upward, following a track very evident in the morning shadows. The cows were away across the field; no chance of spooking them this morning. The deer ran fast; I ran fast too, for some binoculars. In that short time it had left the field and crossed the road which will have required a steep descent down the bank and a scramble up the other side and through leafy bushes. Clearly it knew its way. In the new field it ran on again at speed. And in the middle, it paused. Turned its head, posing perfectly for me to get a good view, posed and paused, before racing onward to the cover of another thicket of trees. Such grace. A solitary female roe deer. Beautiful. The view from here holds many secrets.