The door latch wasn't keen on cooperating at such an early hour, but it finally gave in and she was free. Gray-painted boards creaked softly under her feet, logging her steps to the Sun Seat. She settled in and watched the sky change.
Blowing on her cup, anticipating the Zen-like moment of the first sip, she was caught off guard by the appearance of a visitor. Dressed in red and wearing a black mask, he eyed her from the porch rail.
"Zeep?" inquired the cardinal. "Zeep?"
"Seeds? Is that what you're after?"
"Zeep!" The cardinal's reply was confident.
With a slowness born from caution rather than fatigue now, she eased out of the chair and sidled toward the door. There was a sack of birdseed in the mudroom; maybe the cardinal would bring a friend or two and she could watch them enjoy their breakfast.
"Wait here, Zeep. I'll be right back."