The cold air snaking its way into the tent, and into my sleeping bag, woke me up. Exposed parts of my body, namely my face and hands, were like distant relatives – they were there, but I did not really feel any attachment to them. I reluctantly got out of the sleeping bag, put on my glasses, and opened the little flap in the tent that let me look out on the outside world, without presumably losing the warmth and coziness of the tent.
The campground residents were mostly up and about – announcing their presence through the clatter of their pots and pans as they went about making their morning coffee. I could see a few wisps of smoke from here and there – people trying to get their frozen appendages back into working versions by warming them against the fire. Well – maybe I should get back into the warmth of my sleeping bag, I thought, it does not seem particularly inviting out there.
A rather loud, raucous call startled me out of my morning state of sub-consciousness. From my horizontal position peering out of the tent, I look around to see what bird has, instead of gently helping me usher in my morning with soft trilling notes, crashed in with such obvious lack of musical talent.
On the fir tree next to the tent, I saw the disgrace to the bird kingdom, perched on one of the branches. What it lacked in vocal abilities, it made up for in the brilliance of its colors. With feathers a vivid cobalt blue, the bird was easy to spot – it also helped that the creature was not shy at all. The bird, which I identified to be a type of jay common in this part of Western Washington, looked at me head slightly askance, as if quizzing me about a particularly hard topic that it was very sure I knew nothing about. Presently, satisfied that I was incapable of coming up with a coherent answer to whatever it was it wanted to know, it hopped off to another branch, in better pursuits, namely, the finding of its daily victuals in the form of worms and insects that lived in the crannies of the trees.
I watched it as it hopped systematically from branch to branch, starting from the ground, and working its way up to the top of the tree. Hop, hop, hop it went, circling the tree from branch to branch, stopping once in a while to peck at its morning breakfast, until finally I could no longer spot its cobalt blue through the sparse leaves of the fir tree on which it was perched.
Maybe I should follow the jay’s example, I thought, as I sneaked my hands into my husband’s sleeping bag and placed my freezing hands onto his back. What better way to start the day, than with a start?