Early start

Sunrise through treesThis is a tale told in the whirr of small wings when streetlights wink out . ..

The Pilgrim served tea to streetcleaners, builders, breakfast cooks and delivery drivers. Her morning audience clasped their mugs and  she told them this tale:

She always arrived well before everyone else at work. It varied by season but Security knew her. They let her in quietly, with no fuss. They all knew the faded midnight blue case she carried. Her belll-like silhouette could easily be recognised from a distance.

Her red shoes tapped a neat little beat up the concrete stairs. It was rare she did not smile good morning, bright teeth against her dusky lips. The brown curls of her hair danced, rround and satisfying as a Grinling Gibbons, all the way to her top floor office.

The first part of her routine began with warming the slot of her recorder. The wood was too old and beloved to be woken roughly. Precise fingers with snug pads sculpting her cool breath roused the baroque survivor.

Her second task meant opening the window to an exact distance for  little birds. No hawks, no gulls, no crows wanted. Measuring the space no longer grazed her knuckles. Air and light slid over half-gilded sandstone.

Then she played. Trills and repeated notes, old and known as nursery rhymes.A tremulous  reveille  Little taps came from behind. They were waking.

After a scherzo of notes, she slid open the top drawer in a wall of filing cabinets. Feathers rustled against the manila hammocks. Blue tits and chaffinches, yellowhammers and dunnocks, thrushes and blackbirds spilled out. Their calls exhorted the city to wake.

Their small claws found plinths. Aurora’s morning work was done.

Image by K. M. Lockwood




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