First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunrise 6:34: All Hallow's Eve

Halloween is a big deal in the Dawn Joggers' lives, thanks to the enthusiasm of their beloved Booka who got into the spirit of the event by counting each and every trick or treater who came to the door on Hillview Drive. The pumpkins were carved last night and appear on the male DJs blog. That gave the female DJ the opportunity to publish a spooky oak against a backdrop of pink.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunrise 6:32: Lots of light

The Dawn Joggers left the house almost exactly at sunrise this morning - and it was already light. Bright sunshiney light! While the male DJ and Cassie headed for a walk around the lake, the female DJ took a jog across the Stanford campus following a slightly different route than usual. It took her by the Cantor Arts Center (once the Stanford Junior Museum which housed a mummy that frightened her as a child). She was struck how the sun rays made the building glow and snapped a picture that included her shadow (the male DJ would not approve of such an amateur move). The current exhibiton - Virgins, Saints and Angels - is one they've been wanting to see. Maybe an outing during the recuperation from the male DJ's upcoming surgery.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunrise 7:15: On the pulse of morning

Sunrise was an hour earlier this morning in Boise, thanks to the end of daylight savings time. The female Dawn Jogger thought she'd head toward the Capital building but found herself drawn back to the Boise River, this time from a different entry point along the recreational trail. She'd been tipped by some locals that there might be some beaver activity heading in a westerly direction.
No beaver sightings. But she came upon a surprising and inspirational memorial to Anne Frank. There were a number of circles surrounded by inscriptions from authors, prophets, sages and saints. In the middle was an amphitheater of memorial stones (purchased potentially to pay for the memorial? - the female DJ did not have the time to investigate). A statue of Anne Frank appeared to be "teaching" the silent stones the lessons of history. Lessons such as spoken about in Maya Angelou's Inaugural Poem "On the Pulse of Morning" excerpted at the memorial:
"Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours -- your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sunrise 8:15: Along the Boise River

The female Dawn Jogger found herself in Boise today where the sun doesn't come up until 8:15. One of her traveling companions explained that was because we are near a time zone demarcation. It was clear and crisp as she made her way along the Boise River through a number of parks that lie adjacent. Geese were plentiful (heading south or year round inhabitants?) as well as lots of mallards. Boise has a charming downtown filled with restaurants and shops in historical buildings.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sunrise 7.29: Morning activities

The female Dawn Jogger took off for the hills this morning, feeling that the challenge of a good pull up to Big Dish would be a great tension reliever. (The male DJ and Cassie did a walk around the lake; his brain is now featured on his blog.) There was a bit of moisture in the air, so she wasn't sure that Silvio would be able capture the daybreak scene successfully. Silvio proved her wrong. Later as she returned to civilization and the morning commute, there was a sign that the world continues to be worried about issues more global than, as her cousin Robin called it, a "little bug in the brain."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sunrise 7:28: It's dark

The last 10 days or so of October and December to mid-January are the darkest days for the Dawn Joggers. Today was the first day the male DJ decided to try to get back to slow jogging (ok, they've never been 'fast'). Even going their 'winter lake route' which takes them across the campus past the student union instead of all around the lake, meant it was still quite dark when the hit the lake. The lights are helpful, making it easier to navigate the uneven surface. The end of Daylight Savings Time on Saturday means they can look forward to brighter mornings ahead.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sunrise 7:27: Who ya goin to call?

There are many times in life when you can only ask: "Who am I going to call?" The implication is that there's an obstacle to overcome and the path to success remains unclear. Guess the powers that be on the Stanford campus this morning decided the answer was, "Ghostbusters!" A nearby racoon was a little curious about the garb but more intent in getting its last bit of food before retiring for the day. The Ghostbuster had her work cut out for her as the female Dawn Jogger passed at least a dozen apparitions this morning. Meanwhile the male DJ had called on a number of resources, both scientific and spiritual, to slew his demon, a closed MRI machine.
Victory was achieved last night as recounted in his blog.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Surnise 7:26: One step at a time

It's still fairly dark when the Dawn Joggers (aka walkers) and Cassie reach the steps leading to Lake Lagunita. Young Cassie would bound up these steps, anxious to reach the smells that circle the lake. Now 13, she is a more cautious dog (but equally curious about each and every smell). The DJs keep reminding themselves that their life for the moment is one step at a time, as frustrating as that can be.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunrise 7:25: Spooky orange glow

The fog had rolled in, giving the walking path near the practice course construction an orange glow. The Dawn Joggers now leave the house a full hour before sunrise, so there are a lot of opportunities to catch spooky scenes in the predawn light.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunrise 7:24: Door doctor

If there weren't enough doctors in their life at the moment, the Dawn Joggers used much of today to catch up on the remaining items to complete their bedroom and bathroom remodel. A number of vexing issues confront them. One is the number of holes in the French door that leads from the bedroom to the bathroom. It was made by one of the most reputable door/window companies in the country, Kolbe and Kolbe. But the contractor as well as the DJs were stumped at what kind of door handle/lock would require as many holes as were drilled into the door. So they took a digital picture and set off to the preeminent "door doctor" on the Peninsula. Well, not a doctor per se, but the store that has more door handles (as well as pulls etc.) than any other place. The mystery remains: after looking at four dozen possiblities and going through more catalogs, the store clerk could only advise the DJs to "call the manufacturer."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sunrise 7:23: Marching in the light

Well, marching may be an over-statement for the pace of their trek up up and around Big Dish. They chose to drive to the Piers Lane access point and navigate the 5-mile loop from there. The Dish is something they've almost always jogged; the female DJ has walked it a few times with colleagues after work. The slower pace gave them more opportunity to appreciate the fall light, such as how the sun highlighted a eucalyptus stump.

The idea of an "ear worm" was introduced to the female DJ a few months ago. It's a tune that you can't get out of your head. So after talking about the low light with the male DJ, she found herself trudging up hill hymming the catchy and singable South African Freedom Song, "Siyahamba," that they sing at the 5:00 PM Sunday worship service at Holy Trinity church. Whether it was first introduced to them by former rector Rob Ross (who always got the congregation in the spirit by exulting us to take marching steps) or the fabulous pianist Joe Guthrie, it's an upbeat song that simply states that "we are marching in the light of God." A good reminder, the female DJ thinks as the the DJs face their current health crisis.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sunrise 7:22: Pumpkin-hued oak

Yes, the pumpkin obsession continues. But it serves to amuse the Dawn Joggers (aka Walkers) during their daybreak strolls around Lake Lagunita. Today they spotted this
Coast Live oak (they think that's what kind of oak it is), near the third (second, fourth? - for 15 years they've been walking along this corner of the golf course but don't know for sure) green of the Stanford golf course, just adjacent to the Red Barn. They applauded the pumpkin-like hue it had taken just after sunrise.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sunrise 7:21: Pumpkin glow

The truth about the pervasive pumpkin theme is that it only took a short break yesterday. It can't go far because it's every where the Dawn Joggers (still Walkers) look. Today's pumpkin glow showed on the horizon across from Roble Field. The very small crescent moon remains present.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sunrise 7:20: Return to dawn patrol

The Dawn Joggers, continuing at the moment as the Dawn Walkers (much to Cassie's delight as she can accompany them every time), returned to their early morning schedule today. And both remembered why their daybreak excursions are so soul satisfying. The photos capture two moments they liked best, although both agree that the camera can't quite capture what the eye sees. (No offense Silvio.) There was the first hint of light and a bright crescent moon as they crossed Sand Hill. By the time they were on the far side of Lake Lagunita near where the boathouse once stood, the colors of the lake bed and sky appeared painterly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sunrise 7:19: View from 8th floor

The Dawn Joggers were sidelined again this morning and didn't get out for a short jaunt around the block until very late this afternoon. They had a first of the day appointment in the City. The one bright spot was a picture perfect view from the 8th floor of the building where the appointment took place. The white building amidst the greenery is the Conservatory of Flowers (opened in 1879 and North America's oldest existing public conservatory) which is located in Golden Gate Park.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunrise 7:18: Orange like a pumpkin

The Dawn Joggers were ready to get off this pumpkin kick. And indeed there were some great 'First Blush' sky shots taken today; maybe the male DJ will use one of them his blog. But the female DJ couldn't resist the multi-hued orange of this eucalyptus stump. About five of these trees were cut down last week as part of the construction of the Stanford practice golf course. The good news is now that that work has been completed, their regular path has reopened. That's the male DJ's shadow in the corner of the shot; he took another shot because 'it's amateur to insert the photographer into the picture' but the female DJ liked this one.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunrise 7:18: Pumpkin window

When the female Dawn Jogger was a child, the merchants on Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Menlo Park would make their windows available to elementary school classrooms for Halloween painting. She doesn't remember if their was a competition for best window (maybe by grade level), but she can recall how much fun it was to look at all the windows. And how it heightened the anticipation for trick or treating. Painted windows on the Woodside Fire Department, seen as the DJs and Cassie did a short walk this morning, reminded her of that long ago tradition.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sunrise 7:17: More pumpkin cheer

OK, there's a pattern here. With their world turned upside down, the Dawn Joggers can only hang on by taking delight in the small things. Someone had affixed pumpkin face cut outs to caution signs in downtown Menlo. They spotted them as the walked downtown this morning to meet good friends from of town.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sunrise 7:16: Cheery pumpkin lantern

With their regular schedule temporarily suspended, the Dawn Joggers are discovering the pleasure of walking on crisp Fall mornings about 90 minutes later then usual. Not surprisingly, it's a whole different crew out walking - moms who've deposited their kids at school and retirees. Each outing on Menlo Park streets reveals more Halloween decor - some meant to scare, others, like a pumpkin lantern, that are quite cheery.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sunrise 7:15: Thinking positive

The Dawn Joggers issued a rare time out this morning as they sort through some unexpected medical issues. People talk about how life can turn in an instance - the DJs are now living that. Their morning ritual is too important to put on hold indefinitely, and they resolve to at least take a walk around the lake tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sunrise 7:14: Silvio returns

Silvio, the Lumix digital that was damaged when the female Dawn Jogger slipped down a lake bank, returned to work this morning. This camera has a faster shutter speed than Optio (the Pentax) and better suited to the predawn darkness. It wasn't really tested on today's jog - the test will come when there's a larger scenic. But a snarling dog on a poster had caught the female DJ's attention, and the male DJ walked over and inaugurated Silvio's return to service.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sunrise 7:13: A new path - like it or not

Some health concerns had the Dawn Joggers walking rather than jogging this morning. It was a time to reflect and talk about the bumps along the road of life and prepare for the journey ahead. Given that backdrop, both DJs thought it was symbolic that today was the day the their jogging path of 16 years was closed (there had been signs of the event for the past two weeks), and a new route, far less scenic and more out of the way, was opened. The new route squirts around the practice golf course that is being constructed for the university's golf team. Cassie was her usual inquisitive self at both of the newly-installed roadblocks.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunrise 7:12: Tent under moonlight

One of the best things about running at dawn is running by moonlight. The moon was full just a few nights ago and still high in the starry sky when the Dawn Joggers set off this morning. The moonlight was the perfect setting for a large tent erected on Roble Field. The tent was the largest of many scattered across the Stanford campus, a part of some weekend activity (parents weekend?).

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunrise 7:11: Dawn right of passage

One of the rites of passage for parents of preteens and teens is waking up to a house or yard or tree that has been TP'd.(It's a similar rite of passage for preteens and teens - although their work gets down in the dark of night.) The Dawn Joggers came across a particularly good TP example just a few houses away this morning. Some how the TPers had gotten lots of tissue up to the top of a tree at fairly exact intervals, so that it rained down quite artfully. Dad and kids were already dismantling all the hard work.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sunrise 7:10: Bay Trail for a change

The Dawn Joggers had a picnic to attend in Coyote Park today so they took the opportunity to jog the Bay Trail, heading south from the Park toward the San Mateo Bridge. When complete, the Bay Trail will be a 400-mile network that includes both San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. The DJs are actually closer to the Bay than they are to the Pacific Ocean but tend to get to the coast more often than they do to the bay. This morning, it was relatively warm, and the trail was active with dog walkers, young couples with strollers (almost always multiple) and walkers who were striding rather than ambling. One familiar sight along the trail, near the border of San Mateo and Foster City, is the feral cat colony, now numbering around 160, most of which have been neutered. The colony is tended by volunteers who feed those that cannot be placed in homes. The constant of the jog was the differing vistas around every bend.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sunrise 7:09: Understanding discernment

The female Dawn Jogger, solo again this morning, reflected on discernment on a pre-dawn run that was punctuated by the fresh smell of damp earth and the sound of twittering birds. Since the beginning of the year, she has participated as a member of her parish's rector search committee. The search requires not only recruitment, interviewing, and selection but the process of discernment in both directions - by the candidates and by the committee. And unlike secular employment, there is prayer, listening to God. It is a challenge to listen - and a challenge to discern. As a noun discernment is defined as "the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding." The word discriminate jumped out. A word with a negative connotation is positive within the framework of keenness of insight and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sunrise 7:08: First rain

The first significant rain came yesterday evening and continued for much of the night, heavy at times. That is good news for Cassie the dog, who never met a puddle she didn't like. Not only did each and every puddle get explored but every new smell get sniffed. It's what amuses an old girl, soon to turn 13. The female Dawn Jogger was reduced to just going along for the ride.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sunrise 7:07: Getting spooky

Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger each year in Menlo Park. The Dawn Joggers live in a big trick or treat neighborhood, so have done their part over the years with appropriate witches, goblins and spooky sounds. This skull was nestled in a hedge near a mail box in the front yard of a house that also had scary things coming of the the lawn and hanging in the trees. Over the net couple of weeks, each dawn run will bring more decorations to see.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sunrise 7:07: Dawn repairs

The female Dawn Jogger was on her own this dark and cool morning. But not quite. She came around a corner to see a PG&E crew getting in some repairs before the morning commute.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunrise 7:06: Super fragrant

The Dawn Joggers can smell this very fragrant vine (tree? bush?) immediately after crossing the San Mateo bike bridge into Menlo Park even though it's a block away. In total it's about 20 feet tall and almost that wide and currently has over 500 fragrant trumpet blossoms. Aromatherapy for the week.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunrise 7:05: Choosing the light

Because the Dawn Joggers' and Cassie's Friday run often takes them to Arastradero Perserve, they rarely visit this open space on the weekend. But today seemed like an ideal day. The skies were grey and the light nicely set off not only the oak woodland but also Windy Hill to West and Mission Peak to the East. Unlike their often noisy early mornings - lots of birds singing, coyotes howling, turkeys gobbling - it was strangely quiet. The male DJ used the light to take some arty black and white shots.