In the water at Weymouth
It must have lept two metres or more. Perhaps ten times its body length. After a high speed run-up the squirrel hurled itself across the gap, flying in superman pose from the fence post to the tree trunk. That is a lot of energy for the dawn hours.
Unlike the squirrel, we certainly don't have that much energy yet. But we know where to find it.
We hop the fence to reach the shoreline path. Just as we get to the other side we hear the sound of tiny claws sprinting across the fence and I turn in time to see a second squirrel leap across the gap before scurrying on up the smooth beech tree. I'm reassured - this must be the place to be.
Looking back across the field we just came out of, we see three graceful and slow moving herons glide in to perch at the top of a conifer. They carry breakfast in their beaks after a successful morning fishing expedition. Over the sea to our left, there are several others gliding effortlessly as they continue the hunt.
Its not long before we find the muddy 'staircase' to the sea on our left. Its steep and slippery so, leaving my companion at the top, I cautiously make my way down, gripping the rough grass and shrubs to keep control. Down at the rocky water's edge, the sun shines on me - bright yellow and low on the horizon. The sea is calm and covered in diamonds.
Giving myself no time to change my mind, I take off my shoes and warm layers and set them down in the narrow band of dry rocks beyond the high tide. The rocks are coarse and sharp under my bare feet so I do the familiar yet strange half squat dance routine only ever performed by swimmers on cold, rocky banks and beaches. That takes me to the concrete barrier that stretches out into the sea and provides me the perfect launch point.
I follow the curve of the wall out far enough to be confident the water is deeper than I am tall - perfect for the instant entry I'm after. In I go. Gasp! Deep breaths, kick and paddle... now the shock is over I can enjoy the moment. Or was that the moment I was seeking anyway?
The seawater shrivels my mouth as I accidentally gulp a glassful. Its a funny thing that, because we drink water everyday and its never salty, it is always a surprise how salty seawater really is.
I spin to face the sun. Half floating, half swimming, I enjoy the view across the bay and seeing life from a seabird's eye view. The sky isn't yet blue. Just shades from yellow to white from the horizon up and over my head.
After only a few minutes, I return to the wall and lift myself out onto it. The air is now comparatively warm so I stand and look out to sea, feeling the wind on my skin as it dries. Small waves crash onto my feet, which are just about above the water line on this false island. This is the closest I will ever get to walking on water.
The reliable rhythm but slight irregularity of the sound of the waves crashing behind me make them the perfect focus for my curiosity. My mind drops all other thoughts while I feel the sun and listen to the waves. They rise, break and retreat. Each time a little differently. Rise, break and retreat.