Before my first cup of coffee

Twittering calls fill the air and I turn to look out the window.  Clouds blanket the sky in hues of ash.  Yet the cacophony of morning discussions beckon me to start the day.

It’s then I spy a mockingbird giving chase.  The target: another mockingbird.  I can’t help but laugh as they dance a macabre rendition of avian merry-go-round.  Their turns tight, their wings spread, and still they loop endlessly around one small tree, first upward, then downward.  The circle they draw around the stoic trunk is small, undoubtedly less than the distance between my own hands were they held out.  But it’s an important chase, I’m sure, especially hearing the chaser’s constant grumblings about the apparent interloper.  Finally, they spiral up and away, over the tree, then over several others, and eventually out of sight.

Once my languid and listless body climbs out of bed, a cardinal flits into view, a momentary splash of red bright against the gloomy dawn.  Briefly it stands attentively in the tree and watches, waits.  Then as quickly as it arrived, it leaps into the air and joins the growing assemblage of song and wing.

There is much plotting and planning, I’m sure, what with all the raucous brouhaha.  Even a distant mourning dove adds its voice to the commotion, a lamentation to all but the dove.  How sad it sounds, how full of weeping.

I stretch my sleep-tightened body first this way then that.  Arms overhead.  Standing on tiptoes.  Twisting and bending like a pretzel.  Relief courses through every fiber of my being as weary muscles receive infusions of energy—or at least a dastardly and harsh wake-up call.

Briefly, and so quickly I’m almost unaware of it, a large opossum scurries by the patio.  Its long prehensile tail is dragged behind it almost without thought.  I watch it make its way along the length of the veranda before disappearing around the corner toward the lake.

Part of me feels jealousy for the apparent energy enjoyed by these creatures.  I’m lucky to make it to the shower before I’ve had my coffee, and here they are full of vigor and vitality, busy with their individual and group goings-on.  And not a damn one of them has had a bit of caffeine.  Bastards, the lot of you!

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