First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sunrise 6:42: Grass is greener

The female Dawn Jogger had the pleasure of hitting the Dish on another spectacular sunlit morning after another rainy night. The temperature had cooled, and she was hoping to see snow atop Windy Hill. None there, but she thinks she saw it on Mt. Diablo; Mt. Hamilton, the most likely place, was obscured by clouds. The new herd was bunched at the cattle grate on the Alpine side, and she was forced to do a bit of herding to get through them. A living example of the grass is greener...

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sunrise 6:44: Busy dawn community morning

The female Dawn Jogger caught up with many members of the dawn community on a 'day-after-rain' morning. Through some mysterious duck communication network, the mallards had descended in force, occupying the 10 foot pond that was passing as Lake Lagunita. Kate was again walking in the morning after a bit of a hiatus, happy to give her take on why Helen Mirren shouldn't have one the Oscar ("superb actor that she is") and that the Queen really has a great sense of humor, which she needed in order to put up with "that twit Diana." Judy reported on a successful foray into snowboarding that left her sore but satisfied. The outing was capped off by the appearance of a rainbow. The male DJ is home and on the mend...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunrise 6:45: Water and waiting

The Dawn Joggers hit a speed bump on the male DJ's brain journey yesterday. He'd been fatigued all week and woke up feeling very weak. So it was off to Stanford emergency room where, after 12 hours, they admitted him with a diagnosis of low grade pneumonia. The female DJ put a hospital stop on her watery, rainy route this morning. Some workmen on campus where working on a steam vent that had gotten filled with water. (There's a whole underground world under the campus.) The male DJ was feeling better, had already eaten his breakfast, and waiting to see if the doctor was going to send him home with meds - or keep him another day. It's hard to retain the little bit of normalcy...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sunrise 6:48: Brooding oak

The female Dawn Jogger felt a bit leaden legged on her outing this morning. But a pretty sky that set off the still leafless oaks on the ridge of Big Dish made it worth it. It was another three bridge Saturday morning...


Friday, February 23, 2007

Sunrise 6:49: Hedging against hope

It's been raining...the male Dawn Jogger is feeling fatigued and out of sorts...the angst over the Anglican Primates communique continues (the female DJ finds the Rev. Mark Harris's blog posting today thoughtful in its bleak assessment of the situation). But it was a sparkling crisp morning for a dawn outing. The female DJ spied a vibrant pink hedge in bloom on Bay Laurel. As with so many sightings, she must have passed this in previous springs, but this was the first time she saw it. There's that whole issue of looking versus seeing...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sunrise: 6:50: Rainy day pride

Steady rain grounded the female Dawn Jogger this morning and found her instead heading to downtown Menlo just after dawn on a grocery run. When musing yesterday on the Communique issued by the primates of the Anglican communion, she had neglected to check on her own Bishop's response, which begins: "The inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the full life of the Church is a matter of justice: as we are all part of the world, and the kindom of God is like a net laid over that same world. All on the earth are connected by this net, whether perceived or not. Actions of justice and injustice reverberate throughout the whole, promoting either integrity, remembering, and shalom, or diabolic isolation." (Full text of The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus's response.) That's the spirit and theology that has made her proud to be an Episcopalian...


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sunrise 6:52: Farewell to meat - or justice?

The female Dawn Jogger encountered a new herd of cattle on her Wednesday Big Dish run this morning, the first day of Lent and the day after Carnivale (carne vale - farewell to meat). Lent has traditionally been the time that Catholics - be they Roman or Anglican - fasted by giving up meat. (Although that's unlikely to save the new herd.) Growing up as an Episcopalian, the female DJ's Lenten fast was more likely giving up her mother's great chocolate chip cookies.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has characterized the communique issued at the end of the just completed five-day meeting of the Anglican Primates as a call to another kind of fast:

"The Episcopal Church has been asked to consider the wider body of the Anglican Communion and its needs. Our own Church has in recent years tended to focus on the suffering of one portion of the body, particularly those who feel that justice demands the full recognition and celebration of the gifts of gay and lesbian Christians. That focus has been seen in some other parts of the global Church, as inappropriate, especially as it has been felt to be a dismissal of traditional understandings of sexual morality. Both parties hold positions that can be defended by appeal to our Anglican sources of authority - scripture, tradition, and reason - but each finds it very difficult to understand and embrace the other. What is being asked of both parties is a season of fasting - from authorizing rites for blessing same-sex unions and consecrating bishops in such unions on the one hand, and from transgressing traditional diocesan boundaries on the other." (Full text of the Presiding Bishop's reflection).

The female Dawn Jogger finds both the communique and the Presiding Bishop's call deeply troubling. Both Bishop Jefferts Schori and Archbishop of Canterbury (the titular head of the Anglican Communion) Rowan Williams seem to be in a a position in which their jobs as leaders of organizations are trumping their own previously-stated beliefs. Is the unity of an entity, the Anglican Communion, which was cobbled together by circumstance in the first place, that important? The male DJ often quotes Brother Timothy, who told the DJs during a visit to the Cowley Brothers rural retreat center, "Don't ever confuse faith with religion." To participate in a fast that restricts the full inclusion of all God's people seem to the female DJ to be doing just that.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sunrise 6:53: Young man's fancy

"In the spring a young man's fancy turns to love," wrote Tennyson. The result: a young Stanford couple up early enjoying some quiet time next to [dry] Lake Lagunita. Such sightings, including overnight camping, don't usually occur to later in the spring semester. But maybe the ground hog was on to something when he declared an end to winter a few weeks back. After all, scientific research has shown that "spring fever is a physiological response to the increased intensity and duration of vernal sunlight as measure by the brain." Meanwhile, storms are expected over the next couple of days...


Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunrise 6:54: Along the ruby ridge

What is sign posted as the Ruby Ridge Trail has long been a convenient and shady walk for the Dawn Joggers and Cassie. It skirts the bank of San Francisquito Creek on the Palo Alto side and connects to the broader path behind the Stanford West housing development. On her longer morning route across the Stanford campus, the female DJ can cross the bridge at San Mateo Drive and come home on the Menlo side of the creek via Bay Laurel, or she can stay on the Palo Alto side and take the path that becomes Rudy Ridge, which she did today. Much quacking could be heard from the creek below her. Sounds of ducklings to come...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunrise 6:55: Return to "short" Portola

The trail system on the southern edge of Portola Valley Ranch has long been the mainstay of the Dawn Joggers' Sunday hikes. The two versions, short (a little over 4 miles) and long (a little over six miles), both feature year-round beauty and enough of a pull up hill that you get a bit of a work out. For the first time since the brain journey began, the DJs and Cassie attempted - and completed - short Portola this morning. The male DJ made steady progress, taking lots of photos with his new Leica M8 while Cassie seemed intent on sniffing every bit of foliage as if to catch up on the past three plus months goings on. The first wildflowers (a little early this year?) are in bloom, including the wild daffodils...


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sunrise 6:57: All blue and green

With friends Ricki and David Perry arriving for a mid-morning visit (a big cheer up for the male Dawn Jogger), the female DJ was up and out early for her Saturday Big Dish route. She encountered a glimmering world of blue skies and bright green grass. At the top of the Dish (where, as often happens, one bold young steer greeted her up close and personal), it was clear enough to see three bridges - the Dumbarton, San Mateo and Bay. For the past three days daytime temperatures on the Peninsula have been in the 70s, but the oaks have yet to sprout spring growth. On mornings like this, the seven mile route seems easy...


Friday, February 16, 2007

Sunrise 6:58: What's up with male athletes

There was considerably musing yesterday on KNBR's afternoon drive time show, the Razer and Mr. T. Retired NBA player, Tim Hardaway, had once been a valuable member of the Warriors; Tom Tolbert (the Mr. T) had been a teammate. What could prompt such vitriole as "I hate gay people" that spewed from Hardaway? What is it about straight male athletes that is so threatening, upsetting, offputting - whatever - about gay men? (There is little, at least of public record, about their negative feelings about lesbians.) It was a group of Stanford football players that last did major vandalism (1994)to the Gay Liberation sculpture on campus. The Dawn Joggers have passed the work, by George Segal, many times. It's a understated statement, explained well in a Salon article that appeared soon after Segal's death. Responding to a previous vandalism of his work, Segals said: "The statement I tried to make in the sculpture is not a political one. It's rather a human one regarding our common humanity with homosexuals." The female DJ was reminded of the sculpture's humanity this morning as she jogged by. Is the male althlete homophobia akin to the prejudice that for so long prevented the integration of major league baseball? Why, in an industry where it's all about winning and out-of-bounds behavior is tolerated as long as the teammate is making a contribution, does this extreme prejudice remain? She's not buying the "close locker room quarters" lame excuse...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sunrise 6:59: Breath of spring

Some early mornings are just glorious - and this was one of them. The sunrise now comes on the other side of seven (at least until the dreaded early switch to daylight savings time in mid-March), so the female Dawn Jogger leaves the house with a hint of light already in the sky. The birds were singing, skies were clear, and the temperature was cool without being chilly. She thought she saw the best of first blush when she hit the top of the steps at Lake Lagunita, but a better display appeared about half way around the lake. It's mornings like this that make the early rising worth it...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sunrise 7:00: No hearts or flowers

Those who favor the sentimental holiday of St. Valentine's Day, may have been giddy at the sight of a perfect sliver of a moon in the predawn sky and waited in anticipation for the glowing first blush of pink as the sun rose. But the female Dawn Jogger knows that something much more important than hearts and flowers is happening today. She felt it was her good fortune to mark the morning by spotting a lovely orange hue behind the dark (almost black) oak trees at the top of Big Dish. Orange and black are much better colors, particularly on a day when the San Francisco Giants' pitchers and catchers report. She's unclear why she can't ever get herself down to spring training...


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sunrise 7:01: It's time to worry about homes and jobs

It was about this time last year that the Dawn Joggers began to be concerned about the springtime homes and jobs that Lake Lagunita - when it is a lake - provides. But last year's puddle looks like a pond compared to the one tiny pool of water that the female DJ saw this morning. It was "full up" with a half dozen ducks. So, like last year, they wait to if more rain will fall and the lake will fill. Homes have been permanently disrupted by the construction of the Stanford practice golf course and all the heavy equipment that's on site...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunrise 7:03: Blame the English?

The female Dawn Jogger is unsure if [St.] Valentine's Day is celebrated in other parts of the world. Americans know the day to be big with sellers of greeting cards, candy and flowers. Although "Saint" has been dropped from the celebration's name, there really was a Saint Valentine. He was a Christian priest who assisted martyrs during the persecution under Emperor Claudius II who became a martyr himself, according to Robert Ellsburg writing in All Saints. Ellsburg says it was the English who made it a romantic holiday, grasping at the first signs of spring - birds beginning to mate around St. Valentine's Day. The hearts adorning one fence on Bay Laurel in Menlo Park went up almost as soon as the Christmas decorations came down...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunrise 7:04: Post storm sightings

Running the Dish is not just challenging exercise, it's the way the female Dawn Jogger marks seasonal shifts. Some sightings are anticipated each year, like when the cattle come to graze, as they are now, and then disappear. Another is the water in San Francisquito Creek and its tributaries. No rushing water appeared this year before today; there just hadn't been enough rain. But a series of storms began on Wednesday, and yesterday there were periods that it rained heavily. The ground reached saturation, and the creek began to roar. As she went up from Piers Lane, sunlight was making brief appearances through the clouds, framing the barren oaks. (The image to the eye was much brighter than the Lumix reproduced.) A curious cow marched right toward her at the top...


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sunrise 7:05: Looking for a carrot

The rain was coming down fairly hard early this morning, so instead of getting up and doing the usual Saturday Big Dish run, the Dawn Joggers and Cassie decided to take a rainy day walk out in Portola Valley. That let the male DJ try out his latest digital camera, a Leica M8, and also to pick up some supplies for his planned vegetable garden. It's easy to encounter horses along the Alpine trail, either in backyards or at commercial stables. The male DJ spotted a picturesque grazing scene highlighted by a grey anchored between two bays. But as he set to shoot, the grey ambled over to the fence, undoutedly in the hope of a carrot. The aspirations of humans and animals aren't always in sync...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sunrise 7:06: Bears in Menlo?

The mascot of Menlo-Atherton High School, from which the female Dawn Joggers graduated, is the Bear, hardly a suburban creature. But it looked like a typical bear garbage attack on Bay Laurel this morning. The can had been turned on its side and the contents picked through and spread over a five foot area. In reality it was undoubtedly the work of some industrious racoons. Yesterday the female DJ met a wild thing of another kind...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sunrise 6:43: Meeting Dale at dawn

No running or walking for the Dawn Joggers this morning. Instead, it was up not long after the much earlier than the Bay Area sunrise and off to breakfast where Dale greeted the male DJ (at least they think Dale is the chipmunk with the red, rather than black, nose). The restaurant was part of the Grand Californian, a Disney version (meaning huge) of a 20th craftsman-style lodge. The trip to the Disneyland Resort was a gift from the male DJ's company for a year of hard work by the Acrobat team. They mixed revisiting some old Disneyland favorites - including Toon Town - with some new attractions at California Adventure. They laughed and smiled and walked close to six miles...


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sunrise 7:08: Oaks make a nice canvas

The ground was a bit damp when the female Dawn Jogger headed out for her Wednesday reverse Dish run, and rain clouds were overhead. The sky was painted in various hues of gray, all the better to show off the oak branches. A canvas can get stitched together above...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sunrise 7:09: No need for patience

The female Dawn Jogger has never been known for her patience. But sometimes she can pretend she's patient because she's not aware that she's waiting for anything. Such was this morning. She hit the top step leading to the lake and was met with a misty, damp scene. The grayness pointed to little chance of a descent sunrise display. But by the time she'd circled the lake, a wave of pink was covering the sky. Sort of like an instant painting on a blank canvas. To cite a developer: "My first step is always to open Fireworks and create a blank canvas..."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunrise 7:10: Obstructed view

Now that it's finally getting lighter earlier, the female Dawn Jogger has found another reason to be annoyed at the Stanford practice golf course that's being constructed. First the very pleasant, lighted pathway went away. This morning she realized that the course's huge mounds of dirt obstruct the sunrise. There was one view, in particular that the DJs used to enjoy; it was just as they made their way up past the existing regular golf course and were turning right on the old path. Today the female DJ climbed up a couple rungs of the fence, but she could still only get a glimpse of the first blush. Not clear why the practice course is 10 feet higher than the ground...lots of privacy for 20 student athletes...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunrise 7:11: Jaunt around the lake

The Dawn Joggers and Cassie took it easy this Super Bowl Sunday with a stroll around Lake Lagunita. The feasting may have already begin - or at least the preparations for the annual football ritual - as they encountered less than the usual number of other walkers. On the way out they shared the encouraging news of a week ago with DJ community member, Kate, who also walks later on the weekend. John and Julie are headed over to watch the game...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sunrise 7:12: Winter morning on the Dish

It was in the 30s and a heavy frost was gracing the Stanford golf course rough when the female Dawn Jogger set out for her Saturday Big Dish run. The ascent to the top warmed her up as did the sight of the adolescent cattle who were grazing at the foot of the Dish. Rumor has it that Peninsula Pete had a big night last night...


Friday, February 02, 2007

Sunrise 7:13: Fence progress

The female Dawn Jogger was surprised there wasn't more progress on the fence that will separate the new practice golf course from the road along the horse corrals. The workers had managed to complete about a third of it since yesterday morning. While many eucalyptus trees were cut down for the new course, it appears the old oaks are being saved. OK, it was a slow news day...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sunrise 7:13: Now what's going on?

After a truly wonderful evening "Raising Hope" for a cure for cancer - and access to treatment for people of all means - the female Dawn Jogger dragged herself out of bed for a quick jog around the lake (to be followed by an early morning meeting...yuck). As she headed to home by the horse corral - across from what will be the Stanford practice golf course for student athletes - she spied more potential disruption of the dawn jogging pathways. The very bumpy dirt roadway adjacent to the corral has been flattened, and a new fence is going up. It's not the fence that is her concern, but what if the dirt road itself becomes "off limits?" Too many mornings without checking in on the horses is not a good thing...