Long before daybreak, the moon has been reflecting the sunlight that's hiding beyond our horizon.
The moon gently sets in the west as the eastern sky turns pastel. This is the time in between night and day -- a gradual awakening when nature begins to stir.
On Lake Martin, a flock of ibis takes flight. In a sugarcane field at Vacherie, an autumn spectacle as swallows swirl into the air from their nightly roost. Dawn is reflected in the Mississippi River, the Gulf surf and sand at Grand Isle, and at False River. In a southwest Louisiana pasture, a thin layer of fog blankets the warm, moist earth, as the cattle and wildflowers greet the sunrise.
Rice farmer Kurt Unkle feels the energy of a new day. "The mornings, that's the beginning… everything's waking up, the plants are waking up, everything's starting," Unkle says.
In a north Louisiana cotton field, it will take a few hours for the sun to dry the dew soaked cotton so the day's harvest can begin.
What you see with each sunrise is unpredictable, like this morning on Lake Chicot where clouds buffer the sunlight.
Too many of us rarely see this new beginning. Our day starts indoors with the flip of a light switch. While outside, nature celebrates a brilliant sunrise. We only get a hint of what we miss through an open curtain.
But not Juan Olivare. At sunrise, he is already at work on the Mississippi River. "And that sun was coming up. And you can see all that bright yellow. It was gorgeous," Olivare says.
Fishermen also see that brilliant first glow of sun on the water. There must be a connection that goes beyond fish and rod and reel.
And on Lake Martin, swamp tour guide Bryan Champagne frequently enjoys the early morning sunlight as it plays with the moss-draped cypress.
"A lot of people don't see what we seen this morning or other mornings, and just to sit here and observer the nature of it," says Champaigne.
At daybreak, there is a peace, a warmth, a fresh start, a beautiful beginning.