There is a certain paler shade of black that begins to appear as a long, long night goes away - it is greyer than grey, a black yearning to be blue, but not quite yet. Then the shadow of tomorrow begins to be cast on the sky, the whitest, most transparent tint of gold. It lets itself become known before it can be seen, a sun still saying good-bye to the other world.
Then as if to herald the coming day, trumpets of light flare up from beyond, sending shafts of tomorrow into the vestige of yesterday. The stars are turned off one by one. Tthe owls that were once many, now somewhere have gone, each to a hiding place that beyond where we live. They are still out there, somewhere still, the stars and the owls. And they are but two of those many things that choose to hide from us from time to time, needing to be there, but needing to be there unseen.
The river mists in the morning, especially the fog off the half-frozen river, give the birth of the day a primeval look. It is as if Creation for a few moments forgets that it has done this a million times before. The river's mist feels like newness, as does the tingle one finds in one's first few breaths of winter morning air.
The few winter birds begin to stir, their faint ruffling of feathers and cawing to one another signal that another day has begun. And there above us, our fish hawks that we just met a few dark hours ago, they had awakened and now were making their way to work. High above us, they flew, in their fight both graceful and menacing, one, two, and on our right, the third, three circling hunters, searching for those few streams of free water flowing in the midst of the ice. They knew that there were plenty of fish to be found, if you could ever get to them. Looking down, I saw Blue-Eyes looking up, following the circling of the hawks round and round. He was fascinated by them; he was focused on them. As was I.
We watched those hawks do the relentless waiting that hunters must do. We watched and they circled; we watched and they circled; we watched and they circled.
"Grab the lanterns, lad," my Grandfather called out, already taking his first steps ahead. "There is breakfast to be had at the Lumberman's Camp."
Yes, I was hungry ... I hadn't thought about it until he made mention of breakfast. "Hey Blue-Eyes, maybe they will have a biscuit or two for you.' I was glad that he looked up to listen to my voice. Then he sneezed the way dogs sneeze now and then.
I gathered both lanterns and saw that both lanterns no longer burned. The light was gone; their warm was gone; their fuel was gone. And I worried about the whereabouts of the soul of the Old Man Oak. I worried that somehow I had allowed him to die away.
The river walk was ice and rock. The dog and I hurried to catch up, but as we did, we did take notice that one of the hawk's had caught breakfast was on his way to where fish hawks go to dine. The other two hawks kept hunting. We kept walking, toward the smoke of a distant fire.