I woke well before dawn this morning, the stars still bright in the arching cobalt bowl above, the air blessedly cool, and decided to watch the sunrise from one of my favourite spots at the lake. I quickly dressed, filled my backpack with breakfast and camera, and set out to walk there.
The streets - usually loud and busy in my neighbourhood - were quiet. Only the occasional car whisked by. Here and there along the way, yellow light spilled out from kitchen windows: early risers preparing for the day.
By the time I'd left the houses behind to walk along the edges of the marsh, the first blush of morning had appeared above the hills to the east and the chorus of birds that each day announces the coming of dawn was in full voice. Hidden among the low bushes, scrubby trees, and tall golden grass that are the marsh this drought-y summer, they made their presence known in a volume that only sheer numbers can bring, each tiny set of lungs filling with the morning air and exhaling song upon the softness of the breeze.
When I reached the lake the sky was lightening, scarfed with wispy cloud, and tinged with pale blue, peach, and butter yellow, all reflected on the water, the edges of the landscape blurred by rising mist.
I unpacked my breakfast, poured my tea, and settled in to watch and listen.
I was surrounded by a choir of frogs. From their seats among the lily pads their voices rose together, discordant, ranging from high pitched ribbits to something as unmelodic as the twanging of a rubber band; all matched in their enthusiasm for this morning conversation.
Fish rose for the morning bite, an occasional flash of silver above the misted water; more often a quiet "plop," leaving concentric ripples in its wake. A kingfisher, perched on the railing nearby, watched them intently before diving to pluck his breakfast from just beneath the shining surface of the lake.
Two otters surfaced just beyond the edge of the lilies, and regarded me with curiosity. Then, having decided I was not a threat, swam by and climbed onto the shore, disappearing lightning-quick into the thicket of willow that overhangs the water's edge.
A heron, resting unnoticed on the nearby trestle, took wing and passed not six feet overhead, the creamy-yellow undersides of his wings glowing in the not-quite-sunrise light.
And still we sat, the chorusing birds, the choir of frogs, and I, to greet the sun as it rose above the blue hills to the east.