It is still dark on these winter mornings when I lever myself cautiously out of bed, wary of thumping my head on the rim of cupboards which jut over the head of the bed. I feel for my slippers in the narrow space between bed and adjoining wall, my bare foot encountering the fur of Charlie-cat who has taken to sleeping along-side the bed.
Negotiating the step down into the tiny hallway--toilet cubicle on one side, shower on the other, I hear muffled thuds as cats decant from the foot of the bed to follow me into the kitchenette.
Closing the sliding door, I fumble for the handiest light switch, then pick my way across the camper's living space to push up the shades on the east facing window.
Jim leaves a work light on in our house-in-progress, a few hundred yards up the rise of the lane; the faint yellow glow of the lamp through early morning murk is the only break in the darkness at 7 a.m. Eastern Time.
I open the door to let out the cats who have spent the night with us, take kibble to the two 'barn cats, Willis and Sally, who are waiting for their breakfast.
Jim emerges when the aroma of coffee perking on the gas stove becomes irresistible.
He opens more of the folding blinds, settles at his desk which faces an east window.
If the slow dawning of the day shows the faintest blush of pink, I go out, slipper-footed, camera in hand. In this mid-winter of grey and bleak weather any morning which hints at sunshine deserves to be recorded.
Sunday morning had promise. The damp of the lane bit through my slippers as I stood below the house watching the sky. Heaps of displaced soil loomed around me, my zoom lens moved the hedgerow trees closer, foreshortening the field beyond the house site.
A retinue of felines trailed behind me as I turned and trudged back toward our winter encampment; the shed built by former owners, our large camper, Howard's smaller one, both sited to take advantage of the electrical and septic systems in place when we purchased the property.
By mid-morning the day had gained a warmth suggestive of springtime.
I found that once my housekeeping tasks were done I needed to be outdoors.
I marveled at the deep blue of the sky, the fleeciness of white clouds, the sharp tracery of branches.
I aimed the camera at treetops, dizzying views.
Is it my imagination, a trick of light, or do these branches show a hopeful hint of renewed life to come?
The land drops steeply in the northwest corner. Birds busy themselves in the tangle of shrubbery and trees which straggle down the ravine.
Sundown came with a palette of apricot, amber, rose and gold, melting against darkening blue.
The sun slid behind the ridge in a final blaze of peach and fiery coral against a backdrop of dusky lavender and mauve.
[My mind struggles at such moments to define the shifting panorama of color and light.]
Monday's sunrise was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Color exploded into the eastern sky, wrapped around the entire horizon, spreading hot pink, coral, rose and lavender high above the tree tops.
The vibrant colors washed along the southern tree line, seeped into the western sky, surrounding us in vivid color before seguing into a brilliant blue which rivaled that of the preceding day.
We had errands to do and rode through the morning of climbing sun and scudding white clouds. Contrails sketched intersecting lines which disappeared in the distance. The whole landscape seemed dominated by the enormous bright sky.
I had to drive into town after lunch. The road winds south by southwest, into the sun at that hour. The temperature stood at 66 F. I pulled down the sun visor against the glare of brightness.
A wind had come up pushing cloud formations in crumbs and shreds, streaks and billows.
As I neared town I noticed an edge of grey bleeding upwards into the expanse of blue. Walking around the town square to the bank, the rising wind whipped my hair.
By the time I headed home the brilliance of the day had dwindled to piled masses of cloud in every shade of grey. Fine needles of rain spotted the windshield, never enough to turn on the wipers, but enough to warn that we have enjoyed our two days of sun. Time again to be enveloped in the pale skies of winter.
Tonight's dusk brought no rich shades of rose or gold.
Smokey grey clouds curled along the horizon.
Evening drew in. The cats, usually reluctant to come inside, were quick to crowd through the door at Jim's heels.
The night is quiet with only an occasional riff of wind, a light spatter of rain against the camper windows.