The sun is just barely rising over the ragged line of mountains that lie to my east.
It streams in through the panes of my windows, drawing long, dark shadows off of the cup and bowl over the surface of the table. My spoon clinks softly against the white ceramic sides of the bowl as I lift the small chips of cereal to my lips in a slow, relaxed cycle. The wide, empty spaces of my house echo the noise back to me, ever so slightly.
This daily routine continues for no more than ten minutes, but each drop of time slides leisurely past, my entire mind feeling every space between every second. The clear, smooth song of a bird weaves its way through the wood-paneled halls of my house, suffusing it with the universally recognized spirit of tranquility.
I smoothly bend down and pick a solitary orange leaf from my floor at the entryway to my house. So far from any other person, I have no need for doors, save thin panels that I can draw closed against the occasional rains. Two shallow steps set my house apart from the verdant world around it, and I descend from the only relic of humanity in this wilderness.
The barely audible taps of my bare feet against the firm dirt of my path resonate up to my ears with each step in my short journey. The way curves ever so gently to the right, along the side of the low hill where I make my home.
Before me lies on side of a thin, clear stream, leisurely flowing between smooth gray stones on its way to the broader river racing below. I crouch and fill the two bladders I brought with my from the house. Ten liters should be enough for another three days, except that today I expect company. My task complete, I turn and travel back to my house.
I light a small fire in the black-blue dish that rests upon the deck at the back of my house, tasking it with boiling a kettle of the water I just drew. My visitors will no doubt want tea. The dull silver of the kettle catches the sunbeams as they creep over my roof, and sprays arcs of yellow-white heat across my arms and face. Satisfied, I pass back through the house and draw a volume from my bookshelf--T. H. White's The Once and Future King--and settle down into the grey chair that rests on my long, shallow porch.
Not more than three pages later, the sharp screeching of the kettle causes me to lift my eyes from their lazy progression across the papers, and I notice dark, black smoke rising from a hilltop some distance to the east. I glance to the sky, and yes, they do seem to be right on time. I strike sparks into the brazier of dry, brittle wood at my side, and flames burst to life within. I drop a pinch of copper powder to the twisting orange shapes, and thin, blue wisps of smoke begin to rise into the sky.
The plaintive whistle of the kettle draws me back through my halls, and I obtain a glass jar of powdered tea along the way. The visitors will be arriving in less than an hour.