I spend a lot of my mornings at Lake Meredith waiting for the sun. I enjoy sitting there in the quite dawn waiting for the birds to start their morning routines and listening to their first calls as they began to forage. As the deep blue and purple shadows shorten and the first flashes of sunlight strike the tops of the cliffs the light changes quickly on the lake. Where there are rocks on the canyon walls the light reflects off the water with a silvery hue, the weeds and grass turn the water a lush green in summer and an ethereal shimmering gold in the winter. Best of all is the reflection of the red clay cliffs that gives the water a beautiful coppery cast.
The mornings are also about the only time the wind is still in the Panhandle. The tree branches don’t wave and the mirrored surface of the water reflects the blue sky and brightly colored clouds as the sun rises. I’ve taken nearly all of my favorite photographs in the early morning as the first sunlight sparked off of plumage and flooded backgrounds with soft pastels and deep shadow accents.
While I wait for the light I listen to the sounds around me. In the summer insects chirping and buzzing fill the air and the calls of Red-winged blackbirds echo from the canyon walls, soon followed by the morning songs of Blue Grosbeaks, Northern Mockingbirds, and other songbirds as they greet the sun. In the winter there are the calls of Canada Geese and dozens of other waterfowl as they fly overhead or forage on the lake, punctuated by occasional hunter’s shotgun blasts echoing from far away off of the rocks of the river valley.
I usually have company at these dawn vigils; other early risers that watch the dawn or walk or jog in the quiet blue hours of the new day. We occasionally stop to visit for a few moments, but are soon back to our own purposes, enjoying the morning, recharging our spirits, putting the trials of our lives on hold for a few hours. It’s a fine way to start the day.