At 6:45 this morning, thick, rumpled sheets of pink and dusky purple clouds spread across the eastern horizon. Above them hung a thin, still-bright crescent moon. The harsh morning rasp of a Brown Thrasher from deep in some bushes was the only sound against a quiet background.

As I walked down the street, heading west, the air felt fresh and almost cool. A bat fluttered over the treetops. Two big wispy, fog-like clouds, turning pink, floated in the gray-blue sky. A few scattered birds called here and there – Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, peeping Cardinals. Outside the entrance to the subdivision, a Catbird complained from the thickets of the Old Field, and traffic was already noisy on the highway just beyond the field.

At the south end of the road where I turn around and head back, when I turned, I couldn’t see the rising sun, but the clouds had spread and turned into a glorious display of gold, coral, and aqua blue, fringed with pure, snowy white. From a weedy stand of chinaberry trees, kudzu and privet, still in dark silhouette against the bright sky, came the sharply whispered song of a White-eyed Vireo – chik-peri-oo-chik!

Back inside the neighborhood, following a different road home that circles up and down steep hills and passes closer to a wooded creek, I heard the chatter of Titmice and Chickadees and the soft call of an Eastern Phoebe. Then, somewhat lost in thought about something I needed to do later in the day, my attention was drawn by a repeated emphatic chek! chek! chek! Over and over again, just that one syllable. At first it puzzled me, and I stopped to listen – and then recognized the call of a Scarlet Tanager just before it added the rest in a confirming – chek-burrr!

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