Secret Eden

There are nights when I simply can’t sleep - not at all, as if I’m on some adrenaline high I can’t switch off. Last night was one of them.
I watched a fascinating programme on Diana Athill - who as a publisher edited some of the most famous 20th century authors - including VS naipaul, Jean Rhys, and Margaret Atwood. She is also an accomplished writer who has recently (at the age of 92) published a collection of memoirs called ‘Life Class’ - well reviewed, much hyped, but the excerpts I’ve seen are brilliantly written.
Then I looked at emails, wrote a little, went to bed at 1.45am, tossed and turned until dawn broke around 3. I got up and had breakfast, then went back to bed and read my book (the 2nd in Steig Larsson’s Millenium trilogy). I finished it around 5am just as the sun was beginning to touch the tops of the trees and decided to go for a walk up the river.

The early mist was just lifting off the weir like smoke and there was no one about. Only the wildlife. Sometimes you can glimpse an otter this early, but there were none this morning. Only a flotilla of geese on the water - parents and goslings.

The sky was an amazing pattern of mackerel cloud, perfectly reflected in the still surface of the river.

All along the bank are little secret gardens of wild flowers and trees - one a drift of cow parsley gazing at its own reflection.

This is my favourite - a secluded bank of butterbur and marsh marigolds and pink ragged robin.

Then through a little wood where two herons were arguing for territory, too quick for the camera. They croak and grunt and shriek and clack their beaks together, but noone seems to get seriously hurt.
The footpath up the River Eden is there for everyone, but this morning it was my own private paradise.


  1. I had a restless night last night - we had the grandchildren (one is a 4 month-old baby) staying and I felt it was 'my watch' so to speak; I think I'm out of practice.
    You took some beautiful photos and certainly made good use of your awake-time! (I had a 3-hour nap after they'd gone back home - how boring am I?)

  2. Not boring at all! It's very necessary with small babies around. The best advice I ever had was to sleep when they sleep! On the walk .... as an insomniac I've discovered that the best treatment is to get up and do things if you're awake. Trying to sleep when you can't is torture.

  3. what a beautiful spot you have!
    I think quiet mornings around dawn are my favourite time.
    Thank you for sharing Kathleen.

  4. I should comment on the odd synchronicity our blogs seem to have. You have been posting about the River Eden, within days I was posting about the town of Eden.
    Also you were trying to photograph herons within a day or two of me snapping a very nice one (just near Eden by the way)

  5. I dislike it greatly when I have those sleeping problems. Fortunately it's rare, How nice to be rewarded by something like your morning. What beautiful views and a good thing to have the photos to remember it all.

    Tossing It Out

  6. What a beautiful way to deal with sleeplessness. Glad I discovered this blog... Tuesday poems is a wonderful idea!


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