I woke at 6.30 this morning. Yesterday was the hottest day I recall here. The weather sites say it reached 29c but it was reading 34c in the shade of our balcony. It felt like the steel-maker had left the furnace door open. We broiled and baked.
I like it hot but not that hot.
This morning is different.
It feels cool and fresh with a gently wind curling off of the Mediterranean like the breath of a mother singing a lullaby.
The sky is a milky blue, swirling with colour. The moon floats high above, bent like a bow pointing where the sun will rise.
The horizon is a range of colours, the subdued tones of a water-colour artist. To the west it is almost the grey of an English sky. To the east, where the sun is rising, it begins to hum with red.
The cicadas sleep, their continual racket paused for a space. The occasional gull cries by the shore, a more jocular sound than normal. There is no threat or challenge to these calls and they are not repeated in the usual frenzy of bickering.
The more constant call is the cooing of pigeons, first one then another until it is picked up across the trees in a tremulous chorus.
Smaller birds wake, adding their trills and chirps to the burgeoning song.
Few people are about. Three or four sit upon their balconies. Like me they are breathing in the mild morning air, waiting for the world to awake.
I can see the glow of the sun through the opaque glass shade to my left. Even this early its warmth reaches out to me, brushing my left temple with its power.
Some of the trees in the gardens in front of me are being painted by the sun, their uniform greenery now shown to be an illusion of the shade. There is more than green here; browns and gold and silver emerge with the light. The hues are more exact to my eye now and more cruel.
Beyond it all the Mediterranean lies tranquil and serene. Silver paths weave through it. Close to the horizon the grey of the blue is beginning to lighten with the sunlight. Near to the shore I can see the faint ripples of the waves.
The human world is waking now. Trains clatter on the rails, some going west to the rest of France, others east towards Italy. Traffic builds upon the roads; cars, motor-bikes and street cleaners. And the glittering light of a hushed ambulance betokens a human tragedy, a person gripped by a heart-attack being raced to safety with deft and silent speed.
Morning. Menton. It’s good to be alive.