First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sunrise 7:04: On a mission

The Dawn Joggers spied a majestic looking hawk this morning as they made their way up the back side of the Big Dish. He (or she) was perched on the top of a post, presumably on a breakfast mission. There are a lot of ground squirrels and field mice in the area.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sunrise 7:03: Meaning of life

Children of the 60s and 70s that they are, the Dawn Joggers moved through early adulthood with one question frequently asked: "What is the meaning of life?" Lots of gurus, not to mention teachers and preachers, pondered this - and many made it their livelihood. A license frame on a brand new Lotus parked in one of the Stanford medical lots proffered a simple response: "to love all as God loves us."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sunrise 7:02: Losing our path

It was still dark when the Dawn Joggers encountered Kate (the English lady) who was surveying what looked to be a new trail running east along Sand Hill. "They're taking away our trail," she said. The DJs couldn't believe it - Stanford had put in new lighting around 5 years ago; the path that skirts along the golf course, then by the Red Barn corral before running into Campus Drive West looked like it was here to stay. They assured Kate that the new trail was just that - a new trail leading to the shopping center.

The DJs unfortunately were wrong. On the way back, the female DJ asked one of the workers. He hold her that this section of the trail (photo bottom) was going away due to the new practice golf course and that a new trail (photo top) was being constructed to loop around over to Stock Farm. Later in the morning the female DJ saw further evidence of the looping new trail when she went to an appointment at the hospital. While having no trail would be worse, losing this quiet stretch, where they've encountered owls, barn cats and even an occasional coyote, will be missed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sunrise 7:01: Bay Area landmarks

A century-old landmark, the Emporium in San Francisco, was reborn last night as Bloomingdales. The facade of the Emporium on Market Street was one of the few survivors of the 1906 quake. In rebuilding, a dome was added. Both were very familiar to the female Dawn Jogger, particularly at Christmas time when the windows were decorated and amusement rides appeared on the roof (called simply "roof rides"). So it was fitting that the DJs previewed the new department store last night at a fundraiser for UCSF pediatrics. The Market St. facade and dome have been preserved; the Mission St. entrance of the building is very modern. The mayor (center) was in attendance. And no, the festivities did not deter the DJs from greeting the dawn today on a warmer but overcast morning.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sunrise 7:00: Heavy lifting

"Who's going to do the heavy lifting" is a phrase bandied about in the Silicon Valley.
This morning on the trail around Lake Lagunita it was a group of students who identified themselves as a "Stanford running camp." Over the years, the Dawn Joggers have witnessed a lot of Stanford groups going through initiative rites, particularly at the start of the the school term.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunrise 7:00 am: In the dark

The female Dawn Jogger would need to look in the First Blush archives to find out the last date that the sun came up in the 7 o'clock hour. Between now and the end of October when daylights savings end, a half to two-thirds of the DJs run will be in the dark. Today's photo was shot facing West; looking East the low horizon had begun to show a rosy glow.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunrise 6:59: Student ready

The Dawn Joggers have been watching the refurbishment of Roble Hall, which backs up to Lake Lagunita, all summer. Given the amount of construction going on, it seemed impossible it would be ready for the Fall term. But as the DJs and Cassie made their way across Roble Field and then on the new walkway leading up to the venerable dorm (it seems all of the female DJ's friends who went to Stanford spent a year a Roble), the number of bicycles parked in front indicated it was indeed housing students. The courtyard and front are quite spectacular.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sunrise 6:58: Dishing again

It's clearly the geekiness in the male Dawn Jogger that draws him to the Big Dish. But the female DJ appreciates it almost as much. The DJs found it facing an unusual direction after ascending by what they call "reverse dish," going up the hill from Junipero Serra rather than Alpine. It stood out particularly well against the blue Autumn sky.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sunrise 6:57: Big weed

The Dawn Joggers, like many coastal Californians, are surrounded by eucalyptus, the now controversial import from Australia. According to the the National Park Service, Blue gum eucalyptus was first cultivated in California in 1853 as an ornamental plant. Later that century it was commercialized for timber and fuel, a boom that lasted into the 1930s when it lost popularlity. Many would like eucalyptus eradicated from the state.
It produces a chemical that leaches into the soil and inhibits the growth of indigenous California plant species. Friend or foe, it can show off it artistic side when struck by the early morning sun.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sunrise 6:56: Hoover's everywhere

The Dawn Joggers have been taking more or less the same routes around the Stanford campus for 15 years. They've seen lots and lots of building and retrofitting (due to the 1989 earthquake) during that time. And stumbled upon a considerable number of surprising objects and silly student activities. But maybe the very best part of jogging at sunrise is coming across a familiar sight such as Hoover Tower from a new vantage point - in this case the edge of the Red Barn large corral. Both DJs remarked they'd never realized the tower was visible from this point, but this morning it was framed nicely by the sunrise.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sunrise 6:55: Campus enthusiasm

Stanford opened its brand new and improved football stadium - which retains its historic earthen foundation - to the public last Saturday, and five days later there remained signs of enthusiasm and dejection on campus. The red and white helium balloons hung rather sadly from the lampposts, undoutedly mirroring the fans disappointment at the game's outcome. (Navy prevailed without a fight.) But game results don't change the beauty of the campus itself, reflected in a sign applauding Palm Drive.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sunrise 6:54: Blanketed lake

A thick, tule-like fog blanketed Lake Lagunita this morning and nicely set off the sun's early rays and blue skies. This is a not uncommon sight for the Dawn Joggers. It's one that continues to delight them for no other reason that it's never predictable and always a surprise.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sunrise 6:54: In the pink

Two topics were discussed by the Dawn Joggers this morning. How much longer would they be able to leave the house without their reflector bibs - it's that dim when they first leave house. And it was clear the students were returning to the Stanford campus. Right in the center of the quad, hundreds of bicycles were for sale (starting at $199!). Everything seemed be in the pink, including the sky.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunrise 6:37: Glow on the horizon

The Dawn Joggers' hotel room in Pasadena faces west, the perfect vantage point to witness the first blush of the sun's rise on another clear morning. Heading back to northern California...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunrise 6:36: Perfect in Pasadena

Southern California can be seductive. So it is this morning - blue skies and pleasant temperatures. Perfect for the Dawn Joggers run through the streets of Pasadena and San Marino where they passed familiar landmarks like the Huntington Museum, Lacy Park (with its memorial rose garden) and the Old Mill. And perfect for a morning wedding. PM update: after the bride walked down the aisle to full applause, she raised her arms in celebration at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sunrise 6:51: Mighty oak down

The Dawn Joggers, on a shortened route due to travel to Southern California this morning, found the downed mighty oak that they'd read about in the paper. Over a hundred years old, it had fallen unexpectedly a couple weeks back, injuring nothing more than a fence. They both marveled at its size - and the effort it was taking to remove its body and branches.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sunrise 6:50: Wow, a first blush

The whole concept behind the musings and obervations of this slight blog is the Dawn Joggers' [almost] daily encounter with the first blush of sunrise. This is a the time of year that the sun's pre-sunrise glow is with them for at least half of their run. Soon they will start in darkness and just start to see the sun's glow as they return home. This morning, Cassie and the male DJ paused on Roble Field to appreciate the first blush set off by some pink clouds.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sunrise 6:49: Crafts guild

Smack in the middle of residential Menlo Park sits the Allied Arts Guild. The charming buildings and lovingly tended garden serve as a setting for artists' studios and a restaurant and store that suppport the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The female Dawn Jogger went to tea there as a child with her mother, aunts and cousins, wearing hat and gloves, and still has lunch there occasionally. Passing one of the nicely-restored murals on her jog this morning provided her a moment to think about relatives now deceased.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sunrise 8:49: Sun shines on Electioneer

The Red Barn that was part of Leland Stanford's Palo Alto Stock Farm is a familar sight on the Dawn Joggers' Lake Lagunita route. This morning the sun was catching the bronze statue of Electioneer in a most pleasing way. Electioneer, a world champion Hambletonian, was nine years old, and without progeny, when Leland Stanford purchased him. At the Stock Farm, he sired over 160 record-breaking trotting horses, including nine world champions between 1876 and 1890, when he died at age 22. The female DJ noted that the statue (given by Sunset founder Bill Lane and his wife) shows the horse with a 'saddle cut,' which indicates he must have been ridden.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunrise 6:48: Drippy fog

The fog was dense, drippy and low as the Dawn Joggers set out this morning - at least to the north of San Francisquito Creek. Just across the creek on the Stanford campus proper, it was not nearly as thick. Optio [the Pentax called into duty while Silvio gets repaired] was pleased the the resulting photo snapped by the male DJ.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunrise 6:47: Life is full

Life is so full for the Dawn Joggers that their usual wonderful Sunday hiking outing with Cassie was limited to a quick jaunt to the Red Barn and back. They'd spent the morning at Holy Trinity's "Joyfest" - the annual opportunity for the multi-service parish to worship together. All of Christ's disciples lined the church walls, complete with nametags. The male DJ was amused at the portrayal of Judas.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sunrise 6:46: Just keep moving

There are days when the Big Dish hills seem steeper and longer than usual. That was the case today for the female Dawn Jogger, while the male DJ had fresh legs after a running hiatus forced by his "3-European-capitals-in-4-day-schedule" last week. Committed to this weekly "stretch outing," there's not much to do but to continue to put one foot in fron of the other. The cool and breezing conditions did result in a "God shot" and thankfulness for the blessings of the Creator's earth.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sunrise 6:45: Together under moonlight

It was all together under one (or two) zip codes as the Dawn Joggers and Cassie set out under the light of the moon before sunrise this morning. There was renewed activity surrounding the practice golf course - heavy equipment and water trucks. The DJs remain perplexed on the purpose of the many large hills of dirt - it all looks more like a dirt bike track than a golf course. The red fencing gave the project a bit of a Christo air.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sunrise 6:44: Surprise bicontinental cheer

The female Dawn Jogger set out on the lake route in a bit of funk - no male DJ, no Cassie (who was a bit under the weather). And there was no chance of seeing a bright sunrise; a dense fog precluded that. But just past Narnia (how many people know Narnia is alive and well on the Stanford campus?) she ran into Judy, who decided to turn around and join the female DJ on her route home. That cheery companionship was augmented by the male DJ's pix of what he described as a "cheery Munich lion."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sunrise 6:43: Bicontinental towers

While it's water - canals, creeks, lakes, seas - that most mark the Dawn Joggers daily, sometimes worldwide, adventures, towers are not insignificant fixtures. In their 15 years in the Bay Area, they've jogged by Hoover Tower hundreds of times - it's on their 'long' Stanford route. Measuring 285-feet high, it was completed in 1941 to mark the university's 50th anniversary. [Note: today's pix is from the First Blush archives; Silvio remains on the DL and is likely to face a trip to the repair shop.] At almost the same time the female DJ was on her morning outing, the male DJ stood on the 33th floor (there are 56 in all) of the much deriled Tour Montparnasse (opened in 1974) to take a photo (courtesy of trusty Optio) of the much beloved Tour Eiffel on a rather smoggy Paris day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sunrise 6:43: Silvio's on the DL

Calamity struck the female Dawn Jogger this morning on her way around the lake with the trusty Lumix camera, Silvio. Going down a gravely lakeside bank to take a picture of the abandoned boat Lazy Daze, her feet went out from under her. No harm to her, but Silvio's lens was open and is now not functioning but rather making a horrible raspy sound. Like a trooper, he muscled through one test shot back in the kitchen but it's likely he'll be on the disabled list for for awhile. The real question: will he shoot again?

Late morning UPDATE: Silvio appears to be on the mend and vows "this late in the season" to stay off the DL and attempt tomorrow's jog. Meanwhile, just in, a transmission from the Eurostar lounge (next stop Paris), a photo of the London Eye taken from a taxi. The male DJ reports the sun was up around 6:17 am in London today.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sunrise 6:42: Debut of bi-continental blush

At the same time that the female Dawn Jogger was going down the Menlo Park side of San Francisquito Creek and coming back on the Palo Alto side, the male DJ was walking through Green and St. James Park in London (where his first blush may have been more of an afternoon haze after the overnight flight from SFO).

The female DJ happened on a rare sight in what has become the fairly buttoned-up style of 21st century suburban life, an overt extension of hospitality. A resident on a section of Bay Laurel that is a popular walking/jogging route has placed a nice bench along with a drinking fountain and dog dish (marked Lassie) in the front yard close to the street. Given the times, this way station is also a bit mysterious. What prompted such a gracious invitation?

A long tradition of hospitality is in evidence in Green Park where on balmy summer days (temperatures in the 70s) chairs are placed out on the lawn. It's the perfect place to read the newspaper at the end of a workday Monday.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunrise 6:41: Leafy stump

It was back in June that the Dawn Joggers had watched a very large eucalyptus tree cut down near the bridge by the golf course. One member of the dawn community, the English-lady, Kate, later told them it was diseased. Whatever the tree's problem, in just two short months it has sprung back to life. In fact it's gotten so leafy that it's now hard to see the stump.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sunrise 6:40: Beginnings and endings

When Sand Hill Road was widened to four lanes from Santa Cruz to the Oak Creek Apartments, a number of improvements were incorporated, including a wide jogging/bike path separated from traffic by a wall. Soon after some very small plants were added. For many months they looked sickly and scraggly, but now their taking off and spreading their creepers across the wall. In a salute to soon-to-be-here Fall, their leaves are turning red. All in all a successful beginning - and now a pleasant start to the Dawn Joggers' Saturday Big Dish route.

On the flip side, it looks like one off the smaller radio dishes - this one about a half mile south of Big Dish - is being dismantled, at least that was the male DJ's conclusion. It's not clear whether this is one of the five radio telescopes built by Professor Ronald Bracewell. When his historic radio telescopes were first slated for demolition in 2004, a number of scientific groups protested the action, gathering signatures in support of their preservation.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sunrise 6:39: Dreary and quiet until...

The sun disappeared again. In fact Arastradero was dreary, foggy and very, very quiet - no sounds, no animals - as the Dawn Joggers and Cassie made their way up the first, long hill and back down again (before going up and down and up and down two more times). But just as they rounded a bend - and Cassie went left instead right as she should have done - the stillness was broken by the loud, high-screeching yelp of a coyote. From the sound, he or she was not far off the trail, either in a den or covered by the low shrubs. And that was it for excitement, although spotting a doe and twin adolescent fawns on the climb up the last hill was a treat.