Early on summer mornings the light filters into the house just a little bit differently. It is mottled, twinkling, playful, brighter. I make tea every morning the same way -- in my underwear and a t-shirt, still sleepy, the dogs surrounding me, waiting for their breakfast biscuits -- and look outside for birds while the kettle boils. Today feels different. The house is full again. The light is optimistic. The boy is home from college, now a grown man. There is a table outside with a cloth on it, a few eucalyptus leaves, reminiscent of the time of year when we eat outside. The red geranium, stolen from a friend's garden in Oxfordshire, is strong as a small tree in its pot. Everything is blue and yellow in this California light. And the spotteds lay themselves decorously across the floors and the sofas, faithful in the knowledge that there will be fields to run in in their future.