First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sunrise 7:14: Early risers on the Dish

Even on the coldest mornings the female Dawn Jogger is not alone on her weekday Big Dish route. It was shortly after 7:00 when she reached the summit today, along with a half dozen other joggers who were going in reverse direction. The lack of rain this year has given the ground a multi-colored hue, with lots of dried brush from last year still apparent. The female DJ continues to find the Dish outings both physically and spiritually nurturing. Tonight the DJs will be Raising Hope that male DJ will some day be able to join her again...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sunrise 7:15: Light and happiness

With clear skies this morning, the female Dawn Jogger noticed it was considerably lighter this morning than just a week ago. The bad, unlighted stretch next to what will be the Stanford athletic department practice golf course was less creepy, and more birds could be heard chirping. Rainfall wise, the Bay Area has hardly had a winter, but it's the earlier sunrise that heralds spring. As often on a day when the sunrise is not a show in itself, the sky did turn a nice pink. Looking for the oaks to start budding...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunrise 7:16: Maples meltdown

Maples Pavilion is not usually on the female Dawn Jogger's route. But she felt compelled to take a look at the rather bland-looking building this morning in light of the upending of the UCLA Bruins there last night. Only voodoo or some other kind of hex could explain a team scoring only 19 points in the first half and and 50 in the second half as Stanford did. The disappointing outcome aside, it's a great treat to see the Bruins in action, particularly courtside right behind the Bruin bench. Whatever coach Ben Howland is saying, it didn't work...


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunrise 7:17: A Windy hike

Hiking the Windy Hill Preserve loop up Spring Ridge Trail and back down Hamms Gulch, has been a Dawn Jogger and Cassie favorite. Today the DJs built on last Sunday's first foray back at trail walking. The distance was the same - 3 1/2 miles - but the pull was a little steeper. They went up the Betty Crowder trail, turning right on Spring Ridge, and then came back down the Meadow trail. The morning was glorious with the sun breaking through after a night of light but steady rain. Good to be out and about together...


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sunrise 7:17: Shrouded Dish

The Big Dish was no where to be seen this morning as the female Dawn Jogger headed up from the Alpine Road entrance. The fog - or as it turned out, the rain cloud - was so thick that visibility was only about 25 yards. That made what appeared to be an appoarching military patrol a little creepy. But by the time they were just in front of the female DJ, it was clear that they were ROTC on some kind of training. Soon after it began to pour, picking, as always seems the case, the exact midway point of the route. Sot there's no other alternative but to just keep going. The male Dawn Jogger writes about the encouraging day at UCSF...


Friday, January 26, 2007

Sunrise 7:18: Just exercise

One pleasure of jogging at dawn is that there is usually some adventure (hello, Mr. Skunk), a sense of community or the opportunity to take an interesting photo. But some mornings it's just exercise. It was damp and overcast and dark this morning. The female Dawn Jogger snapped the photo when she turned around after hearing something rustling.
These "temporary buildings" are next to Roble Gym. The brain journey continues; the DJs are off to UCSF for an MRI...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sunrise 7:19: Warmer and darker

The female Dawn Jogger realized that the benefit of the clear, chilly mornings also meant more light. Just Tuesday there had been enough light to jog around Lake Lagunita, But this morning, with a thick cloud cover present, it was back to using the lights of Stanford as a guide around campus. (Except, of course, for the very unlit new path adjacent to the practice golf course being constructed.) To include the Lake as part of the route, she made a right turn past Tressider and went through the Braun music center and then up past the Knoll with its traditional lightposts. That took her to the side of the Lake that is lit. The deceptive light looking East is from the driving range...


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sunrise 7:19: Another dawn on the Dish

Yet another chilly morning, this one featuring a more moisture in the air, so the "cold goes right to your bones" as the Dawn Joggers mother (and many other Bay Area mothers) used to say. The moisture diffused the sunrise, producing a nice spectrum of colors and setting off an oak that makes its home on the ridge line of the Big Dish land. The female DJ continues her fascination with the artistry of oaks...


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sunrise 7:20: Pretty cab, suspicious cargo

The female Dawn Jogger is the last to think that her passion for beautiful truck cabs would be the basis for a dawn community incident. But there she was taking a photo of a very pretty and shiny black truck cab when the occupants emerged. "Why was I photographing the truck?" one of them asked. "Was it because I saw the radioactive placard." Well, the female DJ was so taken with the cab she had falled to notice the immense trailer filled evidently with radioactive waste. At least that's what the company PhiloTechnics [name on the side of the cab] says it does on its website. Sort of unnerving to have it parked not a mile from the Dawn Jogger home - and right along the jogging/bike path. But she's sure every precaution was taken...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunrise 7:20: In the pink

It's slowly getting a little lighter. And while temperatures have moved into the high 30s, the cloudless sky prevents a spectacular sunrise. Today the dawn brought with it a just pink glow. Looking in the direction of the Cantor Museum, the red adobe earth augmented the sky's tone.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunrise 7:21: A return to Sunday ritual

For almost as long as the Dawn Joggers have been getting up and running together just before sunrise weekdays - and doing a long Saturday run - they've been hiking on Sundays. While less true during the 80s due to the demands of parenthood and long [wonderful] Sunday mornings at All Saints Church, hiking became an embedded part of their North California life together, shared, of course, with Cassie the Austratlian Shepherd. This came to a sudden halt last fall when the male DJ began his brain journey. Today marked a joyous return. They choose Arastradero, with its gentle climb and easily amended distances. (They logged 3 1/2 miles, for the record.) Thirteen-year-old Cassie felt so good to be out, she pranced and stopped to smell what seemed like each and every scent. The male DJ reported feeling muscles he'd forgotten and snapped close to 100 photographs. The female DJ relished this small return to normalcy. The mornings's sightings included a coyote, who crossed the trail in front of them...


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sunrise 7:21: Majestic Dish oak

While the oak immediately adjacent to the Big Dish - on the East side of the hill - remains the female Dawn Jogger's favorite, she thinks another oak displays particular majesty. It's located not far down the hill from the Dish on the West side of the hill. The Saturday crowd of walkers and joggers was back to near normal now that temperatures are a bit warmer. Although the greens and some fairways of Stanford golf course were frozen on her way out, and the course was still closed at mid-morning...


Friday, January 19, 2007

Sunrise 6:22: Long ago sunrise

There'll be days like this, there'll be days like this. What happened, the female Dawn Jogger wonders, to the past 12 hours, from the time she setting off on her morning patrol to now? Not a bad day, just one of those days. She only wishes she could balance the sun's rise, peaking its way through a eucalyptus tree, with a great moon rise shot. The male Dawn Jogger has made cassoulet, the first of the winter season...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sunrise 7:22: Dawn sounds

An unmistakable sound of dawn is the rumbling of a garbage truck. And the crews are key members of the dawn community. For years, BFI was the Dawn Joggers' garbage collection company, and the neighborhood crew became familiar figures on Thursday. They always looked to be running a sprint - and rumor had it that the deal was the sooner they finished the collection, the sooner they went home. Since Allied took over BFI, the local collection has come later in the morning. But it's still a dawn activity on the Stanford campus where the female DJ encountered this morning's crew on the job at the homes near Roble Field. A more surprising sound of dawn was a parrot that flew overhead and then perched on top of a fir tree...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sunrise 7:23: Icy conditions

The female Dawn Jogger thinks she read that the temperature drops just after sunrise. That's certainly been the Dawn Joggers' experience, and today was no different. While the male DJ made his way to the Marguerite bus stop to link up with the bullet train to San Jose, the female DJ decided to do the 'reverse Dish,' pleased that it had warmed up to almost 40 degrees. By the time she had made her way back down, the temperature had dropped, and the road leading into Piers Lane had gotten icy. She later ran into Dawn Community member Kate (sporting what she called her Pittsburgh coat) and more icy conditions along the path adjacent to the golf course.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sunrise 7:23: Dark encounter

The female Dawn Jogger took off a bit earlier than usual. The first stretch of the new [bad] path was extra dark, and for the first time, she became uneasy. Ahead was a figure that didn't appear to be moving, and the thought of coming up on a stranger who was standing in the middle of a path before sunrise was unsettling. But as the new path is fenced on both sides, she could either proceed or turn back. She choose to jog on and discovered the figure was a woman who was walking very slowly with a back pack. The many lighted paths on the Stanford campus have long been a saving grace of jogging before dawn, and she's actually somewhat surprised that the new path is without lights.
The sky was displaying a bit of pink by the time she got to the bike bridge over the creek...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunrise 7:23: Still chilly

The male Dawn Jogger reported the temperature, as registered in the side garden, was 22 degrees this morning; under the eaves of the house it was 30 degrees. Inside, the DJs are staying warm - until the the furnace gets fixed - with strategically placed space heaters. The male DJ has been employing what he calls "serial problem solving" in relation to heat emitted and the size of the house. A young tree on the Stanford campus is staying warm under a teepee.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Look out for ice

Yesterday morning, the female Dawn Jogger walked out to get the newspapers - and slipped on ice that had formed on the brick pathway. (No early AM jog due to Vestry retreat.) This mornning, with temperatures in the mid-20s at 8:00 am, she was on the outlook for ice and found big junks of it in one of the culverts that drain into Lake Lagunita. The chilly temperature outside made the chilly temperatures inside not as bad. (The DJs furnace motor quite late yesterday afternoon, so they were making due with space heaters.) Her path up 'reverse Dish' was framed by the glistening, sunlite frost...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Winter coats on cacti

It was in the 30s again this morning as the female Dawn Jogger headed out into the dark across the Stanford campus. There wasn't enough light to see the heavy frost on the fields, but she could feel it. The grounds crew was ready for the cold, covering some of the more vulnerable plants in the Arizona Cactus Garden. There's been significant restoration on this part of Stanford's Arboreum, first planted n the late 1880s, since the DJs have been jogging this route. Given the number of cacti and succulents, why these particular plants and not others...


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Sunrise surprise

There was finally progress on the time of sunrise this morning, although the minute earlier wasn't quite enough. The sun was just starting to poke through the horizon by the time the female Dawn Jogger had made it to the top of the Dish. Many have mentioned to her the spectacular sunrise shots she took on her birthday, one with the statue of Giants slugger (and hall of fame member) Willie McCovey. Last night she was thrilled to run into McCovey himself on his birthday. She can still remember the excitement of her baseball loving uncles when he made his debut as a rookie...


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Just the moon

Whether it was the frosty morning or the darkness, the female Dawn Jogger found herself quite alone on her route across campus and back up the streets of Menlo Park. It was notable because this time of year usually brings out the New Year's resolutionists. The waning moon guided her way.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Quaint tradition

It's hard to believe that a quaint tradition like a "Sophomore formal" - and a themed one at that - still exists at a major university today. But the female Dawn Jogger spotted a promotional banner for just such an event on her dark [now x days in row that the sun has not risen until 7:25] across the Stanford campus this morning. It's almost worth crashing the event to take a look...


Monday, January 08, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Time out

Discouraged that the sun was making no progress in rising any earlier, the female Dawn Jogger took a rare day off. Meanwhile the male DJ was on a final tune up before returning to work today.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Back 'round the lake

It's been a big weekend for the Dawn Joggers. Two of the female DJ's college friends, Chris and Marguerite, are in town. That means talk - and more talk - interspersed with 'girl events' such as a night on the town with local 'girl' group members seeing Dreamgirls followed by dinner.("You girls are ready to party," said the waiter after taking their drink orders.)This morning Chris, Cassie, and the two DJs went for a walk around Lake Lagunita. This was a momentous event for the male DJ, first time he'd gone that distance, a little over three miles, since surgery in early November. All kinds of wounds are healing...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Cattle calls

The Belted Galloways were munching on grass adjacent to Alpine Road this moring. Close enough that the female Dawn Jogger was able to cross the street and get a fairly decent photo of the herd, including the bull (foreground) and a calf. Seeing these distinctive cows is always cheery. Once on top of the Dish, the female DJ came across two escapees from the herd of adolescents that grazes on this part of Stanford land, one of which turned to look at her. How they got on the other side of the fence and cow grates is a mystery.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Moonlight helps

For the fifth consecutive day, the sun didn't rise until 7:25. But the big difference this morning was the strong light beaming down from a slightly less then full moon. The female Dawn Jogger could actually see where she was going the whole route. She wonders how would cope with the sun not rising untl 8:30, a fact her friend LPP will experience while spending two weeks in at the University of Northumbria mid-January.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Dark and rainy

The new skylight in the remodeled bathroom emphasises the sound of raindrops. It was the first sound the female Dawn Jogger heard this morning. But true rain outs are only called during a storm. This morning it was dark, but the rain was steady but light. Once on her way, she was thankful she hadn't wimped out. Nor had the many others out on Menlo Park streets. She knows from year's past that these New Year Resolutionists will be greatly diminished by Valentines Day. It's the fourth day in a row in which the sun didn't rise until 7:25 while going down later each evening.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Discovering Hercules

Another dark morning for the female Dawn Jogger, with some low hanging fog that prevented the thrill of a pretty sunrise. But different light - and different paths across the Stanford campus - present new surprises. She's undoubtedly passed this piece of sculpture near the B school dozens of time. But it caught her eye this morning just before dawn as it was illuminated by a spotlight. The commissioned work is called Pillars of Hercules; the sculptor is Dimitri Hadzi.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Wow of a sunrise

With the sun not officially rising until 7:25 - and it being back to work day - it was pitch black when the female Dawn Jogger took off this morning. She took the 'winter Lagunita route,' going across campus to Tressider, then heading up past some frat houses and catching the corner of the lake that has lights. The sunrise was spectacular - and more than Silvio the Lumix camera could capture, given its limited settings. The vertical shot was a flash time exposure. The horizontal shot was a zoom looking back across the lake taken exactly at 7:00 (she could hear the clock tower chime).


Monday, January 01, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Battered but growing

New Year's resolutions appeared to be getting a late start. At least this was the female Dawn Jogger's impression as there were few people on the Dish this morning at the not particularly early hour between 9:00 and 10:00. The hill up from Junipero Serra seemed steep, her legs weighed down by the great multi-chef dinner at friends last night. There is expectation of profoundness the first day of a new year, at the possibility of new beginnings. But the best the female DJ could think was that's she's like pine tree on the Alpine side of the Dish, battered but still growing. The hours of daylight may be getting longer but the sun rose today four minutes later than on the longest night of the year...