In The Night Garden


Photo: stock image

Creeping out into the bustling stillness of the night garden. Feeling my way with widened eyes adjusting to the dark. The heavy scent of stocks and lavender hangs about the cooling air. Lying on cool slate chips, the ancient stone digging into my back. Wrapped in handspun wool and silent thoughts that weigh me down. The stars slowly emerge from the darkness and the milky stairway to heaven splits the sky.

I wait.

The sounds blanket my ears. Music playing long into the lateness drifts up the valley. A clutch of half-grown hens shuffling feathered feet on perches, irritably jostling for room like the arguing teenagers they are. A pop and crunch – I swear I can hear the snails snacking on the hostas by my head.

A ginger cat materialises out of the dark as if summoned by magic. Thrilled at finding a prone human on his patrol, he scrambles aboard for mutual warmth. Kneads ecstatically at my wool-clad belly, settling first this way and then that. His contented rumbles drown out the neighbours faint party. Paws velveted, sometime catch my skin with accidental claws; I sit up, clutch him tight in defence to settle him and his purr crescendos to a roar muffled against my chest. I bury my nose in his fur and breathe.

Now and then, meteors glide silently above us encircled by shadowed trees. Every which way, dust from time before knowing to eternity, flame for a second and die over our eyes in the night garden.

The cat and I part cordially. A half moon rises like a lantern to chase back the falling stars; a midnight dawn.


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