Sneaking out of and into the city in the dark and half light. Looking for gloves and the right route. Lights plugged into wall sockets and USB ports. An increased interest in the weather forecast. The rush of starlings overhead as they head for the fields. A change in wind direction. Chilled air snatching at my throat and the reluctance of not yet warm muscles. Not quite awake. Stars fade. Light eases into the day. Clouds castellated in gold on the horizon. Leave the sea behind and into the quiet of the hills between the coast and the town. Chalk like ice and crunchy grass. Cold air stings my eyes, vision blurred as tyres search for something to grip. Falling through frozen puddles. Sunlight never quite making it into the dips. The quiet of the cold. One more layer. The white noise of wind on the tops and the cold air in the gaps between. Elongating shadows fall down hillsides. Chasing sunsets. Greens fade into browns, desaturated and muted. Skies blaze for a moment before the almost light not quite dark. The hills flatten to a curved line that fades as light drains behind the ridge. A barn owl and the occasional rabbit in the headlight. Villages sparkle like constellations in the valleys. The waxing gibbous moon hanging over the amber echo of the harbour town drags the tide into the sea wall. Shadows disguised as objects and things hidden in the shade under the cliffs. Follow the sound of the sea and the lights of the city until back in the glare and noise. The starlings have long since roosted and not a murmur until the days stretch out again.
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