Imagine this. See it in your mind's eye...
I'm standing at the end of the pontoon, with Kantara to my left. It's 5th June, 10:30 at night, and there's still light subdued in the western sky in front of me. Earlier, there was a striking orange sunset. The colours now are subtle greys, greens and blues with just a hint of pink reflecting off the clouds. The day had been cold and gloomy, but the air feels warmer now. There's just a faint breeze. The smell of new-mown grass drifts across the water, the scent of nearby flag irises and hawthorn, and a faint fishy smell off the water - not unpleasant.
A duck swims by with her two tiny ducklings, making swishing noises in the water, and tiny guttural sounds in their throats, as if talking with each other. And suddenly I'm aware of much more sound. It's peaceful out here, but far from silent. A fox is barking not far away on the other side of the canal. There are two very vocal owls; one hoots and the other screeches. I'm annoyed by the constant swish of the wind-turbine up on the hillside behind me, but at least the not-too-distant M1 can't be heard as it can during the day. Something stirs the reeds and rushes at the side of the water just a few metres to my right. A vole? Coot? A peeping sound confirms the coot.
A gaggle of geese lands noisily on the pound, calling and splashing, late visitors to the marina, and the once mirror-like water ripples away from them. Bats speed around me, and just a few swallows where there had been dozens who had spent hours swooping low over the water to catch flies. Now the bats do the same, though I can only see them in reflection when they skim over the stretch of water that catches the light lingering above my horizon. Fish jump occasionally. Sometimes I see them, more often I just hear the plop in the water, and watch the ripples spreading outwards from where they've dropped back in.
My attention is drawn to two shapes on the water over by the marina entrance. Faintly white, moving slowly, they emerge from the shadows. It's the pair of swans who have hatched an egg here not long ago. The cygnet glides in behind them.
I look up into the sky. The evening star is clear and bright. Other stars are beginning to appear in the pale sky. The moon's hidden from view, I know not where. I lower my eyes slowly towards the horizon and below, a scene painted in bands of colour and of black. Sky, trees, boats, boat reflections, tree reflections, and the mirrored sky in perfect symmetry.
I focus on the boats, black and vague in the black band opposite me. Their shapes merge together, blend into the band of trees above them and their reflection beneath. Yet some of the boats don't hide in the night. Lights shine from within, reminders that these are people's homes. And when I concentrate on these boats, I can hear faint strains of music, television, the occasional laugh or shout, water being let out of sinks and basins into the marina pound. Someone's having a shower, and their electric pump is sending out rhythmic gushes that pour, phosphorescent, into the water beneath.
I take a deep breath, and take this all in slowly, turning on the spot until I've seen the whole panorama. It's beautiful. It's magical. It's my delight. It's my home.