The flickering light calls from across the disused railway embankment, a lonely beacon sending signals into the misty grey dawn. Quietly questioning a world still wrapped in strong arms of slumber. I consider sending an answer, would that I understood its coded question. I’m drawn into its intoxicating world by the pulsating rhythm of its incandescent heart. My mind drifts, blurring my focus on the insistent silent sentinel. The clank of a closing gate breaks the seductive spell. It’s time for the next delivery... ~~~~~ The deserted school lies cold and alone. The mournful silence of its empty halls punctuated by an occasional click and clank as old steel arteries creak grudgingly to life. A mechanical heart starts pumping, once more, a spring of life into cold dark walls as tears of condensation beat a reluctant retreat against an onslaught of warm, thawing breath. The vacant playground echoes with the sound of cheerful children playing games, the like of which I can only wistfully wonder. Ethereal specters racing around in the intangible mind of the dreamer, with cries of glee and simple song; smiles and laughter, life-force so strong. Something distracts me for no more than an instant and the restful reverie is gone; no more than a muted memory. All is silent, all is still. The calm before the storm of the coming day. The twinkling taillight tells me It’s time for the next delivery... ~~~~ Perched upon a cold wooden bench I can see the soft shimmer of early morning dew glistening on neatly tended lawns. The tree-lined barrier damp and dripping moisture from nature’s morning breath as tireless spiders weave webs of mystery within the trees bountiful arms. Leaves of soft, wet leather dance upon slowly swaying branches. All is quiet, yet the silence only serves to intensify sounds so taken for granted. The melodious calls of fluttering birds stretching wide, wings of wonder, the gentle sigh of rustling leaves disturbed by the cool gentle breeze. As I sit watching, listening, feeling, a calmness descends like a warm wooly blanket and for a single sweet moment in time, I am at one with the dawn and its waking glory. Time stands still as the hypnotic symphony pulses through my veins like a euphoric, calming drug. In a trance-like state I contemplate the mesmeric majesty of the living, breathing world. But the complaining creak of the old hall door opening sends reluctant ripples across my lake of panacea. It’s time for the next delivery... ~~~ Aching muscles tensing as I strain to gain mounting momentum on my trusty metal steed. Cold morning air biting through jacket and jersey as tears conspire with the chill to keep secrets from wide watchful eyes. Panting, as the icy air sears its way to the very core of my being, its frozen fingers delving deep inside to stretch the already waning tide of will. The squeal of biting brakes brings me a halt once more, leaving mind and body to the struggle for barely concealed composure. A brief respite at the end of my torturous trek, to catch my bated breath before the long journey back. ~~ I casually ride along the quiet lanes, marvelling at the dramatic scenery unfolding before my wonder filled eyes. The slowly rising sun setting fire to wind scattered clouds, gently drifting across the burning skies of dawn. High and distant vapour trails blazing their course like crimson scars across the flesh of the heavens. Mother Nature in all her grace and glory! ~ And all the while... behind the colourful curtains, beneath their warm sheets and within their loving arms, the living silently slumber on. Sweet dreams! * Written by Darren Scanlon, January 2000. Revised 5th July 2015. ©2015 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.