Dare I say it but for me, there are better places to be than in church on a Sunday morning. Today I am watching the sun try to rise up from behind the tors on the moor. The Collie, the Lakeland and myself have arrived to see the night time shroud of cloud become edged with the early sun light. It has the promise of a beautiful day. It is Sunday, and while the Curate goes off to open the church and prepare for the early communion service, I have brought both dogs to the edge of the moor, where human leisure pursuits mix with the rural life of the moor - cattle and golf, football and sheep, dog walking and birds of prey. They all mix at different times of the day on this particular spot. For now it is silent, too early for the chattering small birds that hide themselves in the gorse bushes, too early for the sheep to rouse themselves from the middle of the road for just one car and too early for the ponies to be worried by the presence of two happy dogs.
The Old Lakeland still enjoys wandering around - I lose her now and then as she ambles off in the opposite direction to me. In this early light, her flaxen wiry coat blends in with the long grasses so it is easy to lose her. She doesn't respond to my calls - she is either deaf or has very selective hearing.
The early glimpses of sunlight seem to be disappearing now and a strange watery light has taken their place. Could this be rain coming? The view of the distant tor fades in and out of sight as the light changes - now you see it - now you don't. It is a great place to be still and reflective - to pray and to listen. So I don't complain about the early walks on Sunday.
Around me, the moor is coming to life. The ponies are standing up and moving themselves from the middle of the golf course. There is the early golfer who sees only the small white ball and the flag that he is aiming for. There is the runner who is unaware that she has just sent a herd of ponies running ahead of her. There is the dog walker with one of those ball throwing things that sends the dog off repeatedly to collect the rubber ball leaving him with no time to sniff and explore. Soon the Sunday morning footballers will be training where the sheep have laid for the night and the cyclists will be making their way up to the higher moor along with the walkers. I am grateful for the stillness I have had and now another day can start.