It's lovely to wake up early in a cozy warm house, feeling well after a few days' bout with a disgusting, unromantic head cold. I was up before dawn this morning, with no walk scheduled and a feeling of having lazy hours before me. The moon and a brilliant star hung low over Burnette's hill in the east in a dusky dark gray sky, with only a hint of morning on the horizon.
It was fourteen by the porch thermometer; which seemed so much warmer than the four degrees of the morning before. I slipped into the dark kitchen and made a pot of tea, then crept back into bed with the collected poems of Auden and Earl Grey. A warm and sleeping spaniel pressed against my knees and a faint trace of guilt over the cancelled walk didn't keep me from enjoying the quiet of the early morning as I watched one bright star fade into silvery dawn.
Early January Morning
Peace doesn't last long after daylight here, of course. Soon after sunrise an impatient Lab begins to whine to be let out, and feeding chores begin in earnest with the dogs, cats and rabbits. I still had to haul water for the rabbits instead of taking down their bottles. It was twenty degrees at 8 o'clock. Walking out with the dogs was pleasant. Frost crystals etched the grass and sparkled into flowers in the early light. TJ bounded across the fields in his usual head-long fashion, while Lily stepped dainty in the frost and sniffed for night intruders. George sniffed, too, but with a "I'll find it! I'll find it!" wildness in his attitude. The cats sat tucked up in the sun waiting patiently, blinking in the brightness.
By the time I finished the rabbit chores the sun had banished the frost except in the deepest shadows, and I noticed on the way up the hill that the catkins on the pussywillow were already swelling. Some things look so dead this time of year, but even in the deepest winter there is still a hint of color in the woods. Wild doves soared over the corn field and chickadees called from the twigs in the quince, and three happy dogs greeted me as I came in the door.