Cloudless and cool. Craneflies drift through shafts of sun like angels with spider legs, as the afterimages from a night of terrifying dreams fade from view.

Cold and clear 40 minutes before sunrise. A shadow flutters in beside the porch and begins to shriek: whippoorwill. When he finally stops, the meadow is alive with twittering.

As early as I get up, I still feel like a late riser: just past six and the birds are already winding down, the sun glimmering though the trees—an eye reddened by smoke from distant forests.