3rd January

Four pairs of bright eyes stare up as we walk on the subway bridge.of all avians, Swans are such graceful and elegant birds gifted with what for me is an unrivalled ability to communicate. A long neck bends to one side in a beautiful curve, tactile and pleasing mother swan knowingly compels my guilty attention. Despite the mild weather she is hungry and I have nothing to offer. Her mate and nearly grown dapples cygnets wait silently ready for any forethcoming treats. Note to self to bring bird food next time. However I know from experience it will compare badly to the all too frequent offerings of bread dispensed by frequent admirers. Our little swan family are quite the local celebrities- the progress of each year’s brood eagerly watched over by those of us for whom the local lake forms part of our daily routine and if you asked most would say that it holds a very special place in our hearts.

The sun begins to set and I can see the first signs of days lengthening. Dusk holds its colour for longer and the pale yellow along the horizon stretches into a wide band of purple then light blue stretching further than the eye can see. The moon is in its first phase- a delicate quarter and Venus twinkles brightly just below and to the right. It looks almost low enough to reach out and grab- or is this just the nostalgia and optomistic hope of new year talking! An icy wind blows from nowhere moving us on swiftly. Soon the sky will blacken and tonight we will be in for a treat- even in the city’s light polluted depths the cloudless night will bring a peppering of glistening stars. I love the silver glow these evenings bring- silent and beautiful- shining equally on all human, flora and fauna alike touched by the light, a faint touch against the cheek.