Stalked by the Sun


I am very young, maybe four or five. I am in bed asleep, safe and warm. Suddenly, in the depths of my unconsciousness, I hear a familiar humming sound, which wakes me and fills me with dread. There is no escaping, however, by pulling up the bedclothes and so I get out of bed. It is dawn and the familiar view from my window is beautiful. Dew shimmers from waving cobwebs in the hedgerow: the sun is about to rise.

There is a little tinkling stream at the bottom of the garden (called the Ebb) and a hedge. Everything on this side of the hedge belongs to us. On the other side of the hedge are fields, which are very large and take ages to walk across. In the fall they are filled with huge mushrooms, which I harvest, and they are delicious to eat. On the far side of the fields are friendly hills that rise up towards the golden sky, and I greet the countryside. I have seen it, loved it and walked its green body so often that I can truly claim it as mine. I know the trees in the corners of the open spaces and the hedgerows, the muddy tracks between the fields, the wildlife that inhabits the area, and the secret places I have so often explored and adventured with.

The humming is getting louder and I see the sun appear behind a notch in the hills. It disappears awhile, and reappears a bit further along the ridge. I am rigid with terror, for I know that this sun is different from the usual sun that rides the sky. This sun is cruel and wishes me harm. It is hunting me, and, like a thousand times before, I know it will find me. I don’t have much time left.

It peeps over the hill, and balances on the horizon like a tightrope walker. Then, instead of rising majestically into the sky like the king it truly is, it hesitates, and rolls down the distant hill slope towards my house. It hugs the top fields, and follows the farm trails across the fields. When there are no cows in the pastures, the farmer keeps the gates open and the sun has free passage through the landscape. I see glimpses of the sun as it traverses the fields and high-hedged farm tracks, coming ever closer and closer. As it approaches, the humming gets louder; as it hides behind objects such as thick stands of trees, the sound fades.

It is rolling along the top field and about to go down the track between the upper and lower fields. As it does, I lose sight of it and the humming diminishes. I am fascinated and terrified, for I know that the hunt is on. It moves over the field to the right and disappears from view around the side of the house. Soon the humming intensifies and it moves across the field from right to left, searching, stalking.

It disappears behind the garage to my left, and I know that there is little time remaining. Like a mouse confronted by a poisonous snake, there is nothing I can do and I simply wait for the inevitable.

And then the humming gets much louder and the vibrations make things in my room shake. A brilliant, blinding golden glow fills the world, and then the sun is there just outside my window, looking in at me. It is huge. It is smiling, triumphant. It has found me.