I admit it, I have a routine.

Not a rut, a routine.

What I like to do on a Saturday or Sunday is roll out of bed about an hour before sunrise, make a thermos full of coffee, grab a quick bite, then hop into the car and plunge into the murky darkness, hugging the curves along Route 2 or 14 for about half an hour, slipping unnoticed through sleeping villages like a ninja, only with coffee and a CR-V instead of a sword and balaclava.

Usually, I’m heading for a pond – where land and water meet the sky offering promising photographic prospects when the sun is near the horizon. Since we live about 30 minutes from the heart of Groton State Forest – the largest state forest in Vermont – its waters are often my first choice.

One of the best things about this time of day is that so few other people are up. You feel like you have the world to yourself. And of course there are not many things as nice as setting up my gear on the water’s edge just before dawn, enveloped in blue-black silence, listening to the birds awaken, being startled by the sound of a beaver dropping into the water, or by the plaintive sound of a loon’s call as it echoes up and down the pond.

This morning, just before the sky began to lighten, I heard a louder-than-beaver splash about halfway down the pond. Hoping it might be a moose, I peered through the fog and inside saw a early morning canoer heading out to drop a line. Clearly neither of us would have the world to ourselves this morning. He stayed mostly in the fog, and I resisted the urge to call out to him, asking if he couldn’t come a bit closer for a more picturesque positioning in my frame. As it is, you can barely make him out in the mist, center frame.

Kettle Pond

After about an hour of waiting for the sky to light up, I realized fog and fisherman were all I was going to get. The sun was not going splash the clouds with brilliant red and orange. But it was more than enough, and quite beautiful.

As was the previous night’s moonrise:

East Montpelier moonrise

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