Early morning dew

Female roe deer (c) Jon Traill

Hot and humid, stillness all around as the quiet morning of a late summer day unfolds.

The heat had woken me early. Rather than lying looking up at the ceiling, I ventured outside with the dog, who was over-excited at this unplanned journey beyond the garden gate at such an unusual hour.

I set off down the track from the house, the sun's first warming rays filtering through the heavy air as it rose above the horizon, silhouetting the church spire of the village across the fields.

Dew lay thick on the grass, giving the ground a silvery shimmer and the shiny dark carapace of a rain beetle scuttled across in front of us. Tiny, almost imperceptible wisps of dust off the lane kicked up behind it, as its limbs carried it into the organic detritus of leaves and woody stems under the hawthorn hedge.

We rounded the corner and the golden hue of the wheat field lit up as the sun rose higher, the ears of corn fattening towards an early harvest. Testament to this early crop lay on the other side of the road, as the field was already cut, the stubbly stems all that remained. This field has one of those wonderful gently flowing slopes, indicative of the Wolds landscape, drawing the view and taking your eye effortlessly across the scene.

Away at the end of this harvested field I could clearly make out three brown shapes stood, alert and flexed. As we got closer, a mother roe deer and her two fawns, now three quarters grown, came into clear focus. They were now only a short distance away, huge ears moving like radar dishes trying to pick out any sound of danger, teaming up with their amazingly acute sense of smell, all topped off with strong black eyes, checking for a tell-tale movement.

I stopped, quietly calling the dog to heel and happy to fall in the wet grass at my feet, to take a rest from the relentless scents of an early start. The deer relaxed a little and began to feed, looking for fallen grain or a nibble of a green stem. A rook cawed in the distance and the leaves on the hedge plants rustled gently while the dew in the grass dried away into another day.

I took this opportunity to retreat, leaving the deer to their morning, retracing my steps back towards the house, happy to leave this scene unbroken.....