The sky was inky. The perfect contrast for the abundance of stars, some twinkling bright, others faded but massed into milkiness.

5:30 a.m.

Magic time. Big sky time. Clear sky time.

I let the dogs out and they bounded towards the farthest reaches of the fenced yard.

After the roundup yesterday, the peace of the heavens was welcome. I drank my coffee and bathed in the stillness.

In unison, my rooster, Hans, and the neighbor’s broke the quiet. It was brief. I cannot understand why people hate roosters. Their calls are comforting. A reminder that all is well or can be well in the world.

5:45 a.m. The dogs and I were back in the house. Their breaking the fast is usually a gluttonous affair. Although, truth-be-told – my youngest, the Braque d’Auvergne, Mac, is the culprit. He must have a food bowl that limits his ability to inhale his food. My German Long-Hair, Stella, eats well enough. She is my garbage hound though. She can’t help herself. She’s too smart for her own good. She will open the garbage drawer even though she knows it will get her a timeout in her crate. She also opens warming drawers, freezer drawers, and refrigerator doors. My Stabyhoun, Provo, is dainty. For those who don’t know the breed, they are the quirkiest dogs. For those who know them, that is no surprise.

6:30 a.m.

The sky was overcast. The hummingbirds were already buzzing around the feeders and flowers and the wind was up Texas Hill Country style.

But by noon, the sun was high in the sky and the breeze was warm. From my office window, the birds were a constant source of distraction … and encouragement. I was able to finish my book publicity sheet. I always thought finishing a book would be the nexus of the endeavor, but in truth, it is just the beginning.