First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunrise 7:24: Classic car, big walk

For the first time in many months, the Dawn Joggers and Cassie set out on a walk together. (Yes, there had been a couple of good jaunts in Santa Fe and Taos but more of the sightseeing kind than the first-thing-in-the-morning classic DJ outing.) The male DJ has been working on increasing his mileage and felt ready this morning for the 2 1/2 mile loop down Oak/Bay Laurel, across the bike bridge, and back up along San Francisquito Creek. It was one of the first routes introduced to puppy Cassie. Along the way they spotted a classic candy-apple-red Camaro ('67, '68, '69?).

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sunrise 7:24: Back to full Dish

The too-much-good-food mandated a full Dish run for the female Dawn Jogger this morning. (Meanwhile the male DJ and Cassie are extending the length of their walks). The winter sun is low, and shadows are long. It was another opportunity to photograph her favorite oak, situated on the hilltop just below the Dish.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Sunrise 7:24: California green

After the stark beauty of north central New Mexico, a bit of green was a welcome sight to the female Dawn Jogger. One field near the Stanford barn is getting quite lush. It's also home to two types of oaks, the evergreen " coastal live oak" and the deciduous "valley oak." They'd weathered the big wind storm earlier this week that the DJs had missed. Many eucalpytus on campus had not been as lucky. The days may be getting longer but the sun continues to rise later each morning...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sunrise 7:13: An artist's way

For the first time since arriving in New Mexico five days ago, the sky wasn't blue.
The Taos area is getting a bit of a large winter storm that is passing through the Rockies to the north. The female Dawn Jogger saw a few snow flakes when she did her first high altitude jog around town just after sunrise. Jogging is still the best way to see an area she thinks. In a small town like Taos, one can quickly get to residential streets. She snapped a photo of the Ernest L Blumenschein Home on Ledoux Street. The home, now a museum, represents the lifestyle of the first artists in Taos. Blumenschein arrived, by accident, in Taos in 1898, with his friend and traveling companion Bert G. Phillips.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sunrise 7:13: Taos Pueblo

The Dawn Joggers and John explored the Taos Pueblo this morning, a community inhabited continuosly for over 1,000 years. The male DJ, after properly registering and paying for his cameras, shot photo after photo, although he expressed disappointment that the light could have been better. The pueblo buildings are the color of the earth, but many of the doors are brightly colored. Given the history of the tribe - a group of men, women and children, who had sought sanctuary in the original St. Jerome church, were killed when the church was destroyed in 1847 by the U.S. Army during the war with Mexico - one door mixed a patriotic with an environmental message. There were too many photos to choose from, light aside.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunrise 7:12: New Mexico's blue sky

The New Mexican sky is startling in its blueness. To enjoy it, the female Dawn Jogger has walked before breakfast, taking various loops around Palace Avenue and Canyon Drive in Santa Fe. This morning she came upon what looked like an ambitious undertaking, the saving of humanity. Curious as to what it was all about, she could find no more information other than "spiritual community." After breakfast, the Dawn Joggers and John and Julie set out for Taos on the High Road, stopping at the Sanctuary of Chimayo to partake of its healing earth. The sky was still a vivid blue when they arrived at their lodging in Taos, and the low winter sun was casting wonderful shadows on the adobe style buildings.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunrise 7:12: Merry Christmas from Santa Fe

Last night Santa Fe was alit with signs of the hope of Christmas: farolitos (candles in sand-filled paper bags) and luminarias (small bonfires of pitchwood). After a delicious dinner at Ristra, the Dawn Joggers and John and Julie joined the throngs on Canyon Drive on a chilly night. Today begins "The Work of Christmas" in the words of Howard Thurman:
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and Princes are holme,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins.
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To teach the nations,
To bring Christ to all,
To make music in the heart.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sunrise 7:07: Santa Fe glow

The Dawn Joggers and John and Julie were treated to a good sunset on their drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe last night. Both areas had gotten hit by the storm that had pounded Denver a few days ago; the foot of snow in Santa Fe is unusual for the area but makes for a very Christmasy scene. Being at a more southernly latitude the sun rises about 15 minutes earlier than in the Bay Area. They plan a leisurely day of walking around the Plaza and an evening taking in the farolitas on Canyon Road with much good food interspersed.The chile sauces were fiery last night at Tomasitas, even for Californians used to spicey food...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sunrise 7:22: Encounter with Mr. Fox

It was almost exactly at dawn that the female Dawn Jogger encountered Mr. (or Ms.) Fox.
She was turning down the path next to the driving range on her way across the field that leads to the lake (and eventually up and over the Dish). Fox and jogger were both surprised. They paused and looked at each other for a few seconds. The female DJ knew where she headed as did the fox, but it took another couple of seconds for them both to make their way. Seeing a fox is always a special treat. Next stop Santa Fe with the male DJ, John and Julie...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sunrise 7:21: Secret garden

On the second of a number of "longest" days of the year (same sunrise and sunset as yesterday; tomorrow the sunrises a minute later and sets a minute earlier, netting same result), the female Dawn Jogger took a circuitous route across the Stanford campus, which was nearly deserted. She ran behind some dorms she usually runs in front of and visa versa. Between the lake and Campus Drive West, she came upon a secret cooking garden behind Riker Dining Hall. Also growing was rosemary, thyme and basil. Added note: the male Dawn Jogger is out and about once again with Cassie...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sunrise 7:21: Winter arrives

"Hooray, it's the shortest day of the year," an anonymous member of the Dawn Jogging community shouted to the female Dawn Jogger as they passed in the dark. Winter officially arrives today in the Bay Area at 4:22 pm. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year between sunrise and sunset. Both today and tomorrow, the sun rises at 7:21 am and sets at 4:54 pm. What the female DJ didn't have time to reply to the other jogger is the sad fact that the days extends initially in the evening, not the morning. So, there are two to three weeks of dark mornings ahead. None of this diminished the thrill of a a wonderful sunrise seen from the Dish.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sunrise 7:20: Quad at first blush

The female Dawn Jogger hit the Stanford quad this morning at the literal moment of first blush. And as it's already evening, and she's just getting to her blog, that's all she has to say.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sunrise 7:20: Trolling for cheer

Temperatures are near freezing. It's dark. But at least it was dry when the female Dawn Jogger set out this morning for a quick jog around Menlo Park. She pretty much had the streets to herself, a factor of the busy holidays she presumed. So she trolled for a bit of holiday cheer.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sunrise 7:19: Breakfast - or dinner?

When you're nocturnal, is the last meal you eat before turning in breakfast or dinner?
That's what the female Dawn Jogger wondered when she surprised a group of three racoons on the Stanford campus this morning not far more the main quad. Two descended from a tree and ambled over to the nearest lawn to forage for grubs. The third was not as comfortable with the female DJ's presence and came down one tree and went right up the other. It was still fairly dark, so the dark form of the racoon hardly shows against the tree trunk. Look hard for two glowing eyes near the center of the picture.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunrise 7:19: Horse greetings

It was so cold last night that there was still frost in shady places when the female Dawn Jogger and Cassie took off for a walk around the lake at 9:30 am. But skies were clear, and there was plenty for Cassie to sniff - at 13, her favorite pasttime. On the way back by the corral a horse came over looking for treats.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sunrise 7:18: Winter light on the Dish

The combination of storm clouds and the sun low in the sky produced some great oak silhouettes on the Dish this morning. The female Dawn Jogger was reminded by the male DJ last week about a short hill out of the Rose Bowl that had been hard for her to do 25 years ago. She thought about that hill and realized some things do change for the better as she chugged up the much longer Dish hill today.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sunrise 7:17: Wreath of hope

The female Dawn Jogger spotted this wreath on a gate just before dawn this morning. She viewed is as a sign of hope. It's been an up and down week for the DJs, and today they make the last trek to UCSF for the current round of radiation treatment. The male DJ calls the unfailingly cheery radiation therapists "angels," and they are a remarkable group. There have been lots of angels in their life the last two months - near and far.
Thanks to all...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sunrise 7:17: Gorgeous on the Dish

The views going up and down the Dish this morning were spectacular. The female Dawn Jogger ran through ground fog which evaporated as she ascended up the Dish from the Junipero Serra gate near Campus Drive East. The first blush of the sun peaked through just before she got to the top. Heading down towards Alpine Road, the ground fog set off the color of the clouds above. It was the kind of morning that begged for a camera with a telephoto lens...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sunrise 7:16: Lumix magic

The male Dawn Jogger has rightly criticized the female DJ for "never reading the manual." And that means any manual. So she struggles with all the audio/video/PDA/desktop/laptop etc. controls. And such is the case with the Lumix camera that shoots most of the First Blush photos. For such a "simple" camera, there are a lot of settings. If only the female DJ knew what they did. Because it's so dark on her morning outings and because, with the male DJ on the DL, she's now shooting most of the photos, she is beginning to notice the difference among a number of flash settings. One, she thinks, sets up a time exposure of sorts and also produces the painterly (colors are more textured, not quite real), grainy feeling. This morning she experimented by shooting a number of lighted Stanford buildings in the main quad.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunrise 7:16: Rained out

God's grace just happens. Like this morning when the Dawn Joggers woke up around 5:30 to pouring rain (they can hear it particular well on the new skylight in the remodeled - and as yet moved into - bedroom and bathroom). It kept up through the 'get-up-and-out -window,' so they just lay in bed and tried like heck to figure out how deal with the effects of life-threatening illness. It's unchartered ground for them, and unlike marriage in general or having a baby, they don't have either experience or role models. So, they make their way, often inperfectly, adjusting as they go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunrise 7:15: Seasonal color

The female Dawn Jogger has always thought that fall color reached its peak on the San Francisco Peninsula at Thanksgiving. But a lot of trees are still in showy display. She liked the way this stand, located adjacent to the Classic Residence complex, was set off by the pink clouds. As the male Dawn Jogger writes on his blog, it's back to work today. Their wish is that something works...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunrise 7:14: Tall thanks

No, the amaryllis pictured was not part of the female Dawn Jogger and Cassie's walk today. But other than good visits along the way with DJ community members Judy, Kate and Barbara (all in late morning mode), their outing was far from one of their best.
The female DJ continues to mourn the loss of their well-trodden path along the golf course. It's been bulldozed over as part of the construction of the Stanford athletic department's practice course (which will serve about 20 student-athletes as opposed to hundreds of weekly users pre closure). Every stranger they encountered commented on the loss. The female DJ keeps hoping for a new path adjacent to the community garden but an exploration today (new smells for Cassie!) turned up nothing.

So given their less than exciting outing, the female DJ took a photo of one of three bouquets that were waiting for her when she and the male DJ returned from UCSF on Saturday morning. Seems the male DJ had called Craig at J Floral Art, on Friday afternoon, saying "I've just given my spouse the worst birthday present ever, 'Help.'" The outcome was three, four-foot tall bouquets. Wow...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sunrise 7:13: Hard news

As the male Dawn Jogger wrote in his blog yesterday, it's not been a good week, clenched by the gut-wrenching news that his tumor is growing rather than responding to treatment. Not close to working through the disappointment, the female DJ set off just before sunrise today for a jog north on the Embarcadero, hoping to clear her head somewhat, as a good run can do. Not much luck in that regard and the the menacing sculpture near the Ferry Building was hardly a cheer up. Maybe in other circumstances the two figures would have looked like delightful sea creatures paying San Francisco a visit from the deep.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sunrise 7:12: Feast in San Francisco

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It's also the female Dawn Jogger's birthday,and she's in San Francisco. If not for the reason for the City stay - more tests and meetings with the male DJ's doctors - it would have been one of the most spectacular birthday dawns ever. From their hotel, she headed east on Mission and then south on the Embarcadero past the ballpark. She turned around at McCovey point just as the clouds took on a bright pink glow, the perfect backdrop for statue of the great slugger. Heading back to hotel, the sun finally made its appearance with the Bay Bridge in the foreground. It was the kind of morning that makes jogging at dawn worth it...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sunrise 7:11: Photo studies

While the male Dawn Jogger (who's been grounded this week due to mobility issues) has been shooting scenes on the N Judah, the female DJ has been intrigued with oaks and the dawn. She did "reverse Dish" this morning, hoping to clear her mind of what has been a tough week and to see a great sunrise. But she was too early for the sun; it had yet to show itself when she reached the top of the hill. The moon was still high, and the Western sky was pinker than Eastern horizon, a possible result of the hazy conditions. One of the oaks closest to the Dish has been photographed multiple times by both DJs, and it was its typical showy self this morning.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sunrise 7:10: Moonlight dawn

The moon has been pretty and bright the past few mornings, lighting the way in the predawn darkness. It's just hard to get a good photo of it without more elaborate equipment (no knock to trusty Silvio, who remains just the right size for the female DJ to jog with). What she was really looking to shoot was some elaborate Christmas lighting display left on all night. But Menlo Park residents are just too good stewards of the environment. And while a squawking Jay accompanied her along the creek, he just would cooperate for a portrait.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sunrise 7:10: It's a wrap

It finally happened today. The jogging/bike path the skirts the Stanford golf course, that's been a constant in the Dawn Joggers life together is closed, fenced at both ends. This was a path the DJs have been using together for 16 years. They've been amused by the feral cats that sit patiently on the [now gone] wooden fence posts looking for a meal. One morning the female DJ and Cassie were followed by a curious coyote. They met Dawn Community members Paul, Judy and Kate on this path. And most recently the male DJ has used it for his shorter walking jaunt. It will never be the same like much of their life together.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunrise 7:09: Fear and preparation

The Advent Season has begun. And signs of Christmas are everywhere. The female Dawn Jogger has watched sort of Christmas tree (Pictured: What exactly is it? It has a cactus look.) grow for a number of years. It's planted on what the DJs refer to as the Mr. Buster Memorial Lawn. Mr. Buster and MaryAnn walked their Golden Retrievers (one of which was named Buster) in the Stanford arboretum when Cassie was a young dog. Cassie and Buster, who had never before been much interested in females, romped on this patch of green near the mausoleum, much to the amusement of the humans.

Somehow these decade ago dawm encounters and a couple of moments from the past weekend merged in the female DJ's mind on her jog this morning. Twice she encouraged to "not be afraid," something Cassie has always been particularly good at. While one came in a secular enounter and the other as part of an Advent homily, both spoke to trying to live a more authentic life. And both were words taken to heart given the difficult path the DJs are walking (or wobbling, as the male DJ would report).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunrise 7:08: Out for a stroll

The morning after the victory of UCLA over USC after seven long years, the female Dawn Jogger took Cassie out for a walk, knowing she was facing a long afternoon of meetings. They sawy a group of three men that the DJs have often seen strolling along the Stanford bike path on Sundays. Today they were talking about how soon the path will be closed for good, given all the construction and new fence posts. New paths continue to be a theme for many, now dovetailing with the journey of Advent.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sunrise 7:07: Routine Dish run

Sometimes things are just normal (at least on a morning jog). So it was today when the female Dawn Jogger tackled the usual Saturday "full Dish" route. Clear skies, crisp temperature, low winter light nicely displayed on a fallen eucalyptus.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sunrise 7:06: Found art

Stanford has sculpture across its campus. The most famous is the Rodin Sculpture Garden that is part of the Cantor Arts Center. The female Dawn Jogger came across a new piece, a highly-interrupted work, installed along the lake levy this morning. The artist is unknown.