A thousand glistening drops of dew greet us from their spider-spun perches in every possible nook along the broad front porch as we slip out of the cabin and silently wade into the sodden lawn.
The early bird whose insistent song abbreviated our peaceful slumber is nowhere to be seen, but another early riser flashes a golden greeting from a dense clump of thistle on the ridge, thistledown still clinging to its dew-dampened brow.
The night clouds still lingering in the valley thin out and scatter in the warmth of the just-risen sun as yet another early bird lends its voice to the chorus;
indigo bunting, a delicate scrap of bluest sky, rent from heaven's canopy and spilling its glorious song from wild cherry's highest bough.
The clouds ascend in earnest to our north, as the sun leaves the shelter of the eastern ridge behind for today, illuminating Queen Anne's delicate border of lace as she rises.
Perched in the cherry beneath our blue canary, goldfinch sings a tune that's cheery, despite the dreary damp of the early morning's rain.
Precious drops of life-giving liquid cling to every imaginable perch and prickle on thistle's lanky frame.
And web-strewn wingstem, too, bears its share of the morning's watery burden.
The clouds dissipate, done for the day,
but not without leaving ample evidence of their passing on every possible surface.
And there, again, the unmistakable flash of ebony and gold amidst the irresistible thistle, visual lyrics as lovely and unforgettable as the chorus cascading to our ears from the cherries.
The clouds to our south lift further still in the cool morning breeze, revealing the restaurant and the river and the fields beyond; day dawns anew in the Blue Ridge, and our hearts are glad.
All the primordial elements of existence converge in this moment, in this place, in the life that pulses within us and all the other early birds as together we greet the dawn.
Fire and earth and water and wind and sky,
conjoined in twenty golden grams of flesh and feather and effortless flight and glorious avian song.
Fantastic feathered acrobat,
flitting among the thistle from which seed it's built...
each fiber of muscle and sinew and feather and nerve,
every golden note that's uttered,
begins with a tiny flower seed.
The old field next door, not yet converted to lawn or planted with neat, never-ending rows of bright green firs, teems with the stuff of life.
Fueled by the fire of the sun and lubricated by the ever-changing clouds,
the roots and the stems and the leaves and the flowers conspire with the bees and the bugs and the heart of the mountain itself
to give life to this year's brood of lovely golden finches.
The ceaseless cycle of life and death and renewal, playing out again this morning by the light of a Blue Ridge dawn...
By what clock does the goldfinch rise?
By what calendar build its nest on the eve of July?
By what instinct resist the urge to fly from the watcher's curious eye?
Nature's mysteries abound in the light of another Blue Ridge dawn.