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Monday, 6 May 2013

Dawn, delights, and ducklings

At 3 this morning, in a clear but dark night sky, a slither of moon hung low over Lower Shaw Farm, and an owl hooted.

By 4, we were heading for Lawn Woods, where birds were singing and, from the high ridge overlooking Queens Drive, the lights of east Swindon twinkled like a box of jewels.

And by 5.33 the piper on the stone plinth was playing his mournful morning tune, the Sunarise Singers were singing The Sun is Rising, and there was that great orange orb on the horizon doing just that. We watched in awe.

Jason Maverick’s contact balls reflected the sunlight and Marky Jay’s flying machetes caught some of it too.

It was a fabulous dawning. Bathed in morning light, the people smiled, pleased by beauty and happy performers.

By mid-afternoon, 50 parkrunners were running in Lydiard Park and 30 walkers were story-walking, all in glorious sunshine.

Then runners and walkers came together to hear round-the-world adventurer-man Jason Lewis call the Pacific ‘the big wet bit’ and explain that when we reach the doldrums, in life or in oceans, mind over matter can keep us going.

The day ended with Clare Balding telling a packed house about her life with a light touch that was full of hidden depths. It was a pony that taught her not to trust good looks but extremely good-looking day–old ducklings from Festival HQ Lower Shaw Farm that were an instant hit both with her and the Wyvern audience.

The LitFest team debrief declared the day an unqualified success. Truly amazing. As the dawn storyteller reminded us, Nature’s blessings abound and invite us to celebrate, delight in them, and one another; and be thankful.

Today, we were.

Matt Holland
Photo credits: Richard Wintle – Calyx Multimedia