First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sunrise 7:05: Ode to oaks

The beauty of oaks was much in discussion today. The male Dawn Jogger got a tutorial from dawn community member Kate (as well as some morning poetry) on his walk. It's her opinion that Stanford is planting too many oaks, that there should be more diversity.
Meanwhile, the female Dawn Jogger was tackling 'reverse dish' and saw a sign posted at the entrance promoting a oak planting day on December 9th. A public service organization has been working with Stanford on a project called Planting for the Second Hundred Years with the focus on regenerating native California oaks on university land.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sunrise 7:04: Frosty morning

The Dawn Joggers missed the clouds this morning. Without them, no spectacular sunrise.
The temperature read in the mid-30s in their side yard just after dawn. So what they did see was heavy frost, so thick on some fields it looked like snow. As usual the male DJ got a better photo on his walk than the female DJ did on her jog.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sunrise 7:03: Reunion at the bridge

The female Dawn Jogger and Silvio can't match the talent of the male DJ and his Leica D2.Hence they great dawn shot of the day is on the male DJ's blog. The female DJ was treated to the company of Dawn Community member Judy around the lake. The whole crew met up at the bridge on the way home. Yes, it was chilly!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunrise 7:03: Pretty post rain dawn

It was another pretty morning. Not too cold, enough clouds to show off the dawn's range of colors displayed above Roble Field. The day marked the male Dawn Jogger's return to a "first thing in the morning" outing, accompanied by Cassie the dog. The DJs walk together to the bridge across San Francisquito Creek at which point the female DJ takes off on her jog.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunrise 7:01: Outfitted for the N Judah

The Dawn Joggers had already decided that they were going to head out early to the shop for fruits and vegetables (in the increased amount presribed by the UCSF nutritionist) at Sigonas. Both DJs already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but it took a bit of thinking on how to get up to 8 to 10 servings a day. It was already sprinkling when they got to the shopping center, so a walk began to look unlikely for today (maybe a round the block outing later on). That left plenty of time for the male DJ to pick out a new jacket. He so wants to be fashionable on the N Judah.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunrise 7:00: Low winter light

When the Dawn Joggers and Cassie set out this morning - the female DJ for her jog and the male DJ and Cassie for a walk - the male DJ commented that the shadows of the fence made him think of Helmut Newton, who he recalled liked to visit Los Angeles in the winter because of the low and diffuse light. The male DJ has long admired Helmut Newton, who he photographed in the 1980s when they lived in Southern California.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sunrise 6:59: Cold and frosty

The female Dawn Jogger left the house just minutes before sunrise this morning to do a post-Turkey Day "full Dish" route. Temperatures were crisp, and the golf course greens and fence glimmered with frost. It was a morning as pretty as yesterday - the perfect conditions for feeling virtuous about getting up early enough to "do the Dish" before heading up to UCSF for the male DJ's radiation treatment.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sunrise 6:58: Giving thanks outdoors

Cassie and the female Dawn Jogger headed out to Arastradero early on this Thanksgiving day. Bowing to the aging dog's enthusiasm for outings in the wild but at a slower pace, they walked rather than jogged. The female DJ figured they would be alone and might be lucky enough to hear some wild turkeys, to mark the occassion. But many others (walkers, joggers, cyclists, and one equestrian) were taking advantage of the blue skies that followed a slight overnight rainfall, including one couple with five large dogs. They bounded up to Cassie eager to greet her; she was patient, if not slightly overwhelmed by their energy. The only disappointment about the near perfect outing was that Silvio's memory chip had been removed last night, so there's no photo to show how truly glorious the morning was.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sunrise 6:57: Calm on the dish

Given the current schedule of trains to UCSF and her solo outings, the female Dawn Jogger has decided to do more 'up and over' Big Dish runs during the week. It's a nice time of the year, light enough when the gates open at 6:30 but enough time before sunrise that there's opportunity to see some great colors in the sky. Today was a muted affair with just soft grays and purples mixed among a few brighter rays. The cows were numerous and curious, grazing on the Alpine side.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sunrise 6:56: Another new path

The Dawn Joggers sometimes encounter a couple of new paths a day as they make their way on what the female DJ calls the "brain journey." But it's a path of a different sort that they've been monitoring for a couple of months. Their "good path," the one that skirts the Stanford golf course, shows every sign of going away. None of the Dawn Jogging community likes the new long, noisy path along Sand Hill and Stock Farm. Today there was a new development. Workmen were digging fence posts for an as yet unpaved path adjacent to the community garden. If connected to other new path, it would provide a dog leg back to the path along the golf course, a moderate improvement over the long, noisy route.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunrise 6:55: Mint conditions

It was another dreary morning with low hanging fog. But the conditions allowed the female Dawn Jogger to take what the male DJ said was "a painting-like image that you must use for First Blush." He explained that the circles that make the photo look blotchy are actually droplets of moisture captured when the flash when off. The red areas on the ground are Eucalyptus shavings from the trees that got cut down to make way for the practice golf course. The female DJ had been more excited about her shot of a Pontiac LeMans (circa 1960 something), snapped near one of the Stanford campus buildings being renovated (maybe the old student union; she'll look the next time she takes this route). The LeMans was a hot car in its time. This one is in mint condition, complete with what looks like original plates.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunrise 6:54: Dogs at the lake

The Dawn Joggers took off with Cassie in the afternoon towards Lake Lagunita. The male DJ pealed off to make it a shorter walk. The female DJ and dog continued on and circled the lake. There were lots of dogs enjoying themselves - a great group of dachshunds were happy to meet Cassie but wouldn't stand still long enough for a picture. At one point Cassie stopped and watched some young dogs romping in the dry bed. Can she remember when she was full of energy and always anxious to stir it up a pack of friendly canines?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sunrise 6:53: Dish dwellers

For the first time in over a month, the female Dawn Jogger returned to what had been the DJ's Saturday ritual of jogging Big Dish the 'long way.' They last did this together on September 30 when they spotted a hawk on their way up from Alpine Road. Today's critters were surprising and welcome. The female DJ can't remember ever seeing a banana slug in oak woodland (the vegetation surrounding the Dish). They usual prefer moist forest floors, and the DJs spot them frequently when walking through redwoods. (And they are careful not to step on them.) Unlike her trip up and over the Dish a week ago, the latest herd of adolescent cattle was close enough to be photographed. As with previous herds, they already seem to be adjusting to human company.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sunrise 6:51: Spectacular light

The female Dawn Jogger was alone, except for a hare, on the lake bed this morning, just before sun up. The sky was textured and rich with color. Maybe one of the prettiest mornings ever, she told Judy later on the route.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sunrise 6:48: Waiting for the light

The female Dawn Jogger thought it would be a glorious morning - as it often is after a rain. But she hadn't factored in the time of sunrise. For most of her run, there just wasn't enough light to properly show off the the still wet earth. It wasn't until she was almost at the end of her route, that the sun ray's took their effect. The jogger pictured has been a steady member of the Dawn Community, running with two white dogs. Today both canines were lagging far behind their master, causing him to call out, "Come on, lazy dogs!"

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunrise 6:47: Fall color

Fall color is getting brighter and more pervasive along the Dawn Joggers Stanford and Menlo Park routes. Liquid amber trees are particularly colorful. Unlike other parts of the country - and even the state - the San Francisco Peninsula color reaches its peak around Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunrise 6:46: Triple purpose

The male Dawn Jogger is working on a goal of being able to walk at least five miles, even with an imperfect gait. So today was another two mile outing, accompanied by Cassie. The DJs used it to scout the Marguerite shuttle stops, a free bus line that runs a number of routes around the Stanford campus and connect to two Palo Alto train stations. The male DJ will use the shuttle to get home from the daily radiation treatments at UCSF. The DJs have seen these buses for years on their morning outings. Now one of them will put them to use. Making a triple play out of the walk, the male DJ did what he loves to do most - take photos that take advantage of the low Fall light.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sunrise 6:45: Back on the trail

It was raining when the Dawn Joggers awoke this morning, so the decision about how far the male DJ would venture out was postponed to the afternoon. (Meanwhile he got the other half of his head shaved and bought himself the new [very tiny] iPod shuffle; seems these weekend shopping cheer ups are a necessary part of therapy.) The sun was making occasional appearances through the clouds by the time they hit the trail with Cassie in the afternoon. The male DJ walked a very respectful two miles while the female DJ and Cassie continued on around the lake. They have to keep up this walking or they will end up gaining much weight, thanks to the delicious dinners that appear on their doorstep almost nightly. Gratitude to all their wonderful and caring friends.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sunrise 6:44: Frost and Frisbee

The female Dawn Jogger saw the season's first dusting of frost atop the erosion control barriers that line the path through what will be the Stanford practice golf course. That wasn't the only seasonal change. When she started down the paved road from the top of Big Dish to the Alpine Road entrance, there were cattle grazing the hillside. They looked close to mature, if not adult, but she couldn't be sure as they were too far away. Near the end of the run, one of the unofficial Stanford workers was getting a work out with a Frisbee.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sunrise 6:43: Textures on display

The male Dawn Jogger taught the female DJ about light. She learned to appreciate it in relation to texture. Both seemed on good display this morning soon after sunrise near the Stanford Community garden. Her long shadow, in the center of the shot, points the way.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sunrise 6:42: Good light

It was warm this morning and the scattered clouds were well positioned to show off the sun's first light. The female Dawn Jogger thought about the coming weeks and the band of healers - both medical and spiritual - who will use their tools to restore the male DJ "to usefulness in your world with thankful heart" (BCP).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sunrise 6:41: Bright lights - morning and evening

On this day after the male Dawn Jogger's brain surgery, the female DJ enjoyed their favorite form of renewal with a 5-mile jog along Sawyer Camp trail. She had stayed overnight with friends in Hillsborough and took advantage of seeing a part of San Mateo County that she rarely sees. After a day with UCSF's wtotal team of Neuro everythings (surgeons, radiologists, oncologists), she came home to a wonderful symbol of "our thoughts are with you." The good news is that she'll be able to share the candles, flowers and wine with the male DJ as he gets released from the hospital tomorrow.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunrise 6:39: Laying on of hands

Yes, these are not normal First Blush images - the kind that make the DJs appear outdoors and able. This is the reality for the Dawn Joggers today. It's less about the feet - and all about the head, both medically and spiritually. Today was about tomorrow, when they find out the severity of the male DJ's inoperable (due to location) brain tumor. (Want details up to tonight? Visit the male DJ's blog.) So, because it's the Sunday closest to All Saints Day, they headed to where they'd get a joyous All Saints celebration, St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church located on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. St. Gregory's salutes the dancing saints 365 days a year in wonderful images and liturigal dances, so what better place to visit on the official church holiday. They heard from co-rector the Rev. Donald Schell about he and his wife's recent visit to Malawi on work for GAIA (which is headed by the very saintly the Rev. Bill Rankin, who they knew from their days at All Saints Pasadena). After the service, there was a healing prayer, and the male DJ presented himself, asking for healing for himself and delivrance for their beloved Booka, the female DJ's father, who lingers in very frail health. Then it was on to UCSF (ok they were still very much themselves, stopping for lunch at some hipster spot in the Mission where they were decades older than than the rest of the clientele). At UCSF, the male DJ had ficucial markers placed on his head by two able young women, in advance of an MRI that will provide the neurosurgeon a roadmap tomorrow morning for the open biopsy. When they got home, the female DJ took Cassie the dog on a little jaunt around the Stanford Red Barn and saw the sky in 'last blush.' So it may be with this blog, in pause until both DJs are joyously, once again, greeting the dawn together. (That said, the male DJ is pushing the female DJ for postings when she is running solo - and maybe so, if the sprit moves.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sunrise 6:38: Up, talking, watching

The Dawn Joggers were up at dawn today but spent the early morning hours talking about the challenging days ahead. No way around it - they are both darned scared. Their dialogue was interrupted - maybe for the best, how many times can two people go over the same ground - by the sound a loud truck out front. It was one of those door to door container deliveries. The male DJ found it interesting how the fork lift was attached - and become detached - from the truck itself. It made for an all-in-three delivery mechanism - truck that gets the containers to their destination delivered the last 100 feet by the fork lift.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sunrise 6:37: Making our way

The male Dawn Jogger's mantra is "I'm making my way, one day at time." His eloquence - and grace - in the face of devasting illness is displayed daily for the public on his blog. The DJs realize the next weeks will bring tremendous challenges but as much as they can the intend to greet each new day a dawn together.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sunrise 6:36: Rainbows are always a good sign

It was drizzling slightly when the Dawn Joggers and Cassie set out this morning for a walk around Lake Lagunita. While this may have dampened the spirits of some, it cheered them as walking in the rain - especially a warm rain - is one of their favorite things to do. The mixture of clouds and light was particularly rich this morning, creating a series of "wow" vistas. Most spectacular of all was a huge arching rainbow that appeared in the Western sky and stayed with them all the way home.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sunrise 6:35: Saints are everywhere

Today is All Saints Day. As important as their daily sunrise outings have been to them, the Dawn Joggers also treasure their ritual of reading nightly from the excellent book, "All Saints," by Robert Ellsberg. The book offers a "saint" a day, both "officially recognized and those known only to God." The DJs find the readings an effective way to reflect on how they can live thier lives more fully. It also teaches them about God's grace and mystery.

Writes Ellsberg for November 1: "This collective feast, All Saints, is an occasion to acknowledge the varieties of holiness. Though they share a certain family resemblance, the saints are not formed in any particular mold. Some are renowned for contemplation and others for actons; some played a public role while others spent their lives in quiet obscurity. Some demonstrated the vitality of ancient traditions while others were pioneers, charting new possibilities in the spiritual life. Some received recognition and honor within their lifetimes, while others were scorned or persecuted.

"The feast of All Saints does not honor a company of 'immortals,' far removed from the realm of ordinary human existence. The saints were not 'super' human beings but those who realized the vocation for which all human beings were created and to which we are ultimately called..."