November 2007

Rising late, I get a faceful of sun. I watch the resident naturalist’s blaze-orange vest and cap appearing and disappearing among the trees.

“Crepuscular”: such a weird word, conjuring up ancient forests, twisted mossy forms. Not this dawn, filled with the noise of trucks.

Shifting patterns of gray in a sky that has just stopped raining. A crow caws seven times. Suddenly everything acquires an orange tint.

—Every season is deer season; this is the opening day of rifle season. —Where are the rifles, then? —Zipped up in their cases, staying dry.

If woodpeckers are tapping, the sun must be up. The clouds part just long enough to reveal a giant X of jet trails blazing gold.

Dripdripdrip — rain on the roof. Off in the darkness, the explosive snorting of a deer: coyote? Bear? Human? Something with the wrong odor.

Under a low cloud cover, the mountain still white with snow, dawn grows from the ground up. My growling stomach is the loudest thing.

An hour before dawn, I sit motionless, watching Venus climb slowly through the leaves of an oak, dazzling first my right eye, then my left.