Morning

The man awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of dripping water. It had rained over-night and the tent was covered in a thin layer of moisture. His face was close to the edge of the tent, where canvas met fabric. The cool of the morning pushed through the canvas floor, seeped into the sleeping bag that enveloped him. He reached his arm out of the bag, brushing on the canvas sides. Drops of moisture clung to his fingertips, condensation from the night.

He struggled out of the bag, trying not to wake his sleeping companions. The flap to the tent was opened with a zipper, now closed by the floor. He carefully reached down, pulled the zipper higher, slowly. The careful click-click of the fastener metered a steady rhythm as he pulled the clasp higher. When the flap was a quarter open, he pushed himself head first through the gap into the morning air.

A still breeze pushed past him as he detached himself from the tent, reaching for his sandals in the morning dew. A thin fog sat over the lake, the musty smell of reeds, sand and still water. A morning dove cowed its waking song, the sound wafting over the small campsite. His sandals were damp and cold as he put them on, covered with fine sand from the previous day. After putting them on his feet, he made his way to the lake bank, careful to avoid the green slick rocks that covered the path to the water. At the edge he pushed his cupped hands deep into the frigid water, drew out a handful, splashed it into his face, eyes closed. An instant of fierce sensation, the lake water seeping into his mouth, the taste of fresh water, tinged with moss and sand. He lifted his head, brushed the remaining water from his eyes, in time to see the first rays of the sun push over the pine trees across the lake, welcoming him to the morning.