It is cold. Five in the morning, dark outside, it’s drizzling. I can hear the wind howling across the mountain range. Living in the hills does seem tough. The alarm rings, I put it on snooze…ten more minutes…Please let it rain so hard that I can’t go out…the alarm. Again. Out of bed! Now!

I gingerly look for the light switch and finally have the courage to throw off the blankets. Yuk, it is cold. I open the curtain and peep out. Bill, my every loyal rooster, gives me the morning shout. OK, I get it, time to start my day.

As I move the blinds, the first rays of sun rise behind the tree canopy. Birds have started their morning songs. The drizzle has stopped. The air is crisp and clear. Beautiful. Yellow, golden streaks brushing softly against the clouds. Mesmerizing. After a hot cup of tea, I am ready. Ready for the magic that is the morning.

I start a brisk walk along the road leading from my house to the forest. The path is wet, scattered with colourful leaves. A curious monkey stares at me, high from the trees. His wet coat glistens in the sun, shining through the trees. A Giant Malabar Squirrel jumps from a tree branch to another. The branch sinks with the weight, then quickly bounces back into position. An Indian Gaur is grazing lazily in the distance, aware of my presence but not alarmed.  What fantastic creatures live in this paradise. And I am grateful to be allowed into their world!

My strides get longer as I can slowly feel the energy from the walk creating a comfortable warmth. A steep slope up, panting, and then looking out into the plains. What an incredible view. The valley surrounded by a majestic mountain range. I take in the view, grateful for this morning. This is what it means to be alive!