Through the open blind, the early morning sky revealed no light. The air was still and warm, no-one stirred outside. It was far too early for that. The light from the kitchen spilled out against one leafy branch by the window, which occasionally moved just a little in the breeze.
Within, a woman stirs, stumbling in half-sleep toward the coffee machine, small bird perched upon her shoulder. Said bird is active and alert, hopping from shoulder to head, to one hand and then the other. Sometimes stopping to look up at his human with tilted head and intent gaze. Other times, curiously pecking at a pocket or a loose lock of hair.
Another bird, slightly larger than the first, resides in his cage beside the kitchen bench. He is too boisterous to play with his brother safely, and so one remains caged as the other flies. He is indignant, at this and at the hour of being disturbed, and has dropped from his perch to the floor of his cage with the attitude of a tiny sumo wrestler. He stares up, large-eyed and clearly disgruntled. The woman turns from the coffee noisily brewing from a pod, bends forward, gazing at her cranky feathered friend with a smile. The first bird probes her ear with his beak, and upon becoming bored with that game, hops nimbly onto the cage. The large eyes below move swiftly to mark the movement, their owner staring at his smaller brother with interest and a little consternation. The stare follows hop after hop as the little one shifts back to his human - to head, to hand, tiny feet running up and down her back - then back onto the cage.
Then coffee is done. The moment between brothers is over, and human responsibility must resume.
A fairly normal morning for me, prior to my 5am starts. For all that it's a struggle to get up that early, I am grateful for my birds and the stillness of the morning I share with them. Whatever else may be going on in my life, my time with them never fails to stir some joy.