Silence. The air was cool, pleasant, and tickled the exposed hair on my head. I moved slowly, peeking from beneath my sleeping bag, so as not to disturb the stillness of the morning. The crisp air brushed softly against my cheeks. As I moved, the coarse sand crushed beneath my weight, interrupting the quiet. Beyond the wide expanse of sand where I lay, looming boulders protruded from the ground, reaching toward the cloudless sky. Even further beyond the boulders, five miles away, were mountains, colored bright red from the rising sun. The orange sphere glowed behind the surrounding mountains, crawling cautiously toward the sky. The light crept across the sand, pushing the shadows under rocks and brush. It weaved between crevices and found its way over the boulders, making the minerals twinkle in the light. The sun rose higher, and with it came the warmth that the cold-blooded reptiles had been anticipating. The light came quickly now, making its way across the desert, touching my sleeping bag and warming my toes; a gentle wake-up call.

I twisted around, lying on my stomach with my elbows on the rough ground, and gazed at the boulders, the mountains and the sky. A ground squirrel scurried across the sand, pausing momentarily to twitch its delicate nose toward the sky. It paused in the sun, shifting its weight to its hind legs. The breeze ruffled the squirrel's grey fur playfully, then shifted, tousling my hair again. I sighed, content. This was my ideal way of waking up.