A crystalline awakening on the plateau, the crisp air as brittle as new celery snaps with expectancy. The cold clings like a blanket mantled across the rigid landscape, muting stark shapes in antiseptic folds of thick white hoar frost, absorbing sound, encircling sleep, cogent in the early, puny light.
Beds of icicles protrude from tussock bare patches, needle pointed lances thrusting skyward as if some new sprung lawn, awaiting the crushing blows of booted feet, soon to wilt in the onslaught of day.
The moment is timeless, the air still and taut, tensed, awaiting the chorus of dawn.
Awake in a lunatic instant, senses startled, wary, poised to flee, tendrils of sleep cold-douched from every wincing body recess, cocoon of comforting warmth collapsing in the biting rudeness of this unwelcome intrusion.
Nerveless rituals of rising guide disinclined limbs, refine the pressure ridges of sleep-autographed skin, brace up to the dawn sky and strain at the brisk air, yawning copiously as if to say "I wasn't really asleep, my eyes were only resting".