Morning. 14 July. 2018.
He snores, my little dog, as he lies sleeping on his rug. Dawn is still an hour away so he’s entitled to sleep, but I’m sitting up in my bunk looking out over the water, watching the ripples distorting the reflection of the lights on the hills above.
I don’t mind his gentle, rhythmic rumble, I imagine he’s really saying to me, “I’m here boss, you’re not alone, if there is a threat I’ll be there with teeth bared barking in my best don’t mess with us, voice. Don’t feel lonely boss, I’m here”.
And I don’t. My litle ship, my floating home is rising with the tide, its like being lifted by the slow heartbeat of the world. It’s a big tide this morning, one that covers all of the mudbanks, bringing clear ocean water in even this far up the estuary, changing the colour from brown to grey green.
Its too early yet to think of what the day might hold, the planning of the day, the jobs that need doing, what is urgent and what might wait. It’s a time to relax, to watch the hypnotic march of the tiny waves, listen to the birds awakening and proclaiming, “I’m here, this is my place, I’m here, listen to my song”.
There is some pale light above the horizon now, being winter its late, but winter sometimes brings a clarity of light that we don’t see in the warm haze of summer and while the sun is close to its morning appearance the stars still shine, bright and sharp. Its going to be a good day today, I feel very privileged to live here on the river, afloat, so close to nature and the natural things around me.
The water is not my friend, nor is it my enemy, it is impersonal in its actions, but I am content when with it, close to it, borne up by it.
Living here has me close to the moods of the sea. It can be peaceful, gentle, filled with promise of reward. It can be angry, threatening, capricious, or playful. But its rarely the same for long, the constant change is enough to hold my attention always. There is peace here, watching the water is enough to so occupy me that the world of mankind does not trouble me. I understand those for whom long voyages out on the ocean call so strongly, but here in the shelter of the river I can have both. Waking here is a wonderful thing, so near, and yet so far.
Its light now, my little dog still snores, but he’s muttering under his breath, grumbling as he wakes. In a moment we’ll go outside, and we’ll both look out over the water before we walk off together to see what the day has in store for us, there are rats that need catching, both for him and me.
"Dawn on the River." Photo by Paul Gilbert, Aquapix.