First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunrise 6:55: Frosty morning

That there was a decent frost this morning is only notable due to the date. March 31 seems late for a frost, at least to the female Dawn Jogger who had to weather the conditions just at dawn. It wasn't the only surprise. She's been watching a threesome of ducks who've taken up residence near the San Mateo Drive bike bridge over San Francisquito Creek, thinking sooner or later one of the males would win out and the other would be gone. But the threesome had endured and today she thinks she saw ducklings. Clario just didn't have the distance lens to get a decent shot. Spotting ducklings is a favorite spring pastime going back to the DJs' runs around Balboa Island in Southern California...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunrise 6:57: DJs visit the Dish

Only once since the male Dawn Jogger's diagnosis, have the DJs visited the Big Dish area together. But it seemed like a good idea this morning, knowing the cattle were grazing on the land and it was still lushly green. The female DJ put her hand weights on and powered up the first hill to the Dish itself and then up the second rise along the ridge. She was reminded that fast walking uses different muscles than her slow jogs. The male DJ made up the first hill to the cattle grate, a good climb and a round trip hour's walk. As they always did, the male DJ stopped to check the state of one of the two creeks that cross Piers Lane...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sunrise 6:58: Banner year for poppies

The female Dawn Jogger headed back out to Arastradero Open Space today to take of the green hillsides and somewhat early wild flower. No critter sightings today, except for a black cat who took one look at the DJ and headed back into the brush. But depending on the hillsides, there were vast swaths of purple and yellow and a particular rich display of poppies, none of which had opened to greet the day. Jogging Arastradero at dawn on Fridays before work was one of the very best things the DJs (and Cassie) used to share together...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunrise 7:00: Good things coming

The female Dawn Jogger realizes it would have been better to snap the accompanying photo a week ago - when we were all still waiting for the Easter Bunny to come. But it would probably have been too dark; this was the first week since the change to Daylight Savings Time that she didn't wear her reflective vest on her morning jog. While the Easter Bunny has paid its visit, Obama will be in the Bay Area next week, unfortunately when the DJs are out of town. She encourages anyone who hasn't read or listened his speech on race in America to do so.
Her voice is one of many to declare it one of the most important statements by anyone running for office ever. As Senator Richardson said in endorsing him, "There's something special about the guy..."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sunrise 7:01: Enjoying the Irish spring

The female Dawn Jogger continues to channel Ireland - helped by the Celtic tunes on her iPod Shuffle - as she heads across the golf course and around the lake. It may still be very chilly in the real Ireland, but the Bay Area at this time of year puts on a good
replica of an Irish spring. The sky stayed pinkish orange for almost her entire route this morning, framing the big crane on campus nicely. (An even keener eye might spot the three ducks who took off from the nearby grass and headed to the lake.) The morning surprise was a raccoon encountered on her way home at in a neighbor's front yard. That's late for a raccoon to be heading home...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sunrise 7:03: The moon all the way

A week ago the sun rose a full 10 minutes later - and the female Dawn Jogger could have used the light of the almost full moon on her Wednesday Big Dish run, but it already set by the time she headed out. This week, with much lighter conditions, the moon stayed with her for the length of the run - shining brightly in the predawn light as she zipped across the first and second holes of the golf course and still quite visible even near sun up (which was about the time she was at the Dish itself). Keeping the seasonal feel, lots of hares were scampering in the very green grass. Unlike bunnies, hares don't hop...


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sunrise 7:04: Awaiting ducklings

Wherever it is that ducks roost for the night, one handsome pair was been greeting the female Dawn Jogger almost every dawn, as they make their was to the water of Lake Lagunita. The female DJ presumes a nest is nearby and will start the duckling watch. The lake continues to fill...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunrise 7:06: Prowling for Bigges

Some years ago, the Dawn Joggers had spent months being amused by the Bigge crane that was being used to construct the senior residences on Sand Hill. They'd talk about it's latest position and what it would be doing that day. They had then traveled to the city of Shanghai where they'd use their walks to count the hundreds of Bigge (or other company) cranes. Yesterday, when they were at Lake Lagunita, the male DJ wanted to know why he hadn't heard about the two enormous Bigges towering over the Stanford campus that could be seen from the lake bank. The female DJ realized that they were much more visible in the afternoon than in the early morning, although she think she'd seen them. This morning she took off to find out just what they were building - new graduate student housing right in the middle of the campus. She managed to get the moon shot she'd hoped for on Friday, too. Ok, so it doesn't take much to amuse the DJs...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunrise 7:07: Happy Easter!

It was a good Easter day for the Dawn Joggers - church at Holy Trinity with Grace, John, and Julie, lunch on the patio (with all the new blooms) and, like many Easters past, a jaunt to Lake Lagunita. Grace was pronounced "a good baby" by her pew mates, although the loud music wasn't always to her liking, particularly when it came suddenly. Her Easter basket included a chirpy chick. As usual the best photos include Julie and Grace...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunrise 7:09: What's good for the goose

The Dawn Joggers continue to try to do things together (if at a different pace) so this morning, it was off again to Baylands in Palo Alto where the female DJ jogged the loop and the male DJ walked for over an hour. Baylands, like other open space areas on the Peninsula, is in it's green glory and a 'herd' of geese had taken up residence on the back side of Byxbee Park, the former landfill area next adjacent to Baylands, where pairs could be scene "grazing" on the grass. The tide was out, all the better to take pictures of the glimmering mudflats. A good outing for both DJs...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sunrise 7:10: Dawn by moonlight

The female Dawn Jogger had seen the light of the full moon streaming through the high bedroom window during the night and was cheered by the idea that the bright light may guide her path before the sunrise. But the moon had its own mind, and was low (but pretty) on the horizon and set soon after she took off. Wandering some of the higher roads on the Stanford campus, she hit the lake well before dawn. There was lots of activity nevertheless. The geese were already in the water; the ducks were emerging from their overnight roosts in the nearby tall grass (or trees - she's never been sure). Fun to hear all the honking and quacking...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunrise 7:12: The Lake is a good place in the spring

Spring officially arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area last night at 10:48 pm. (Yes, many printed calendars are incorrect, using today's date but not if you're in this time zone.) With Lake Lagunita getting fuller by the day, it's a great place to be in the spring, and there's a larger than usual number of geese (and maybe a smaller than usual number of ducks - not sure if one muscles out the other). Proving their resourcefulness is more than brains, some enterprising Stanford students brought two tables up to the lake's bank from a nearby dorm, all the better to survey the ever changing scene. The female Dawn Jogger is pleased that Lake is full this year for Easter, not always the case. The DJs plan an Easter Day outing...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sunrise 7:13: Watchful eye at daybreak

The female Dawn Jogger has met at the top of the Dish this morning by Mr. Hawk who'd perched atop a dead oak and was scanning the area for breakfast. It seems everything is stirring in the predawn light, either waking up or heading to a den. A pair of deer spotted grazing on the Piers Lane side of the Dish, probably the same pair she's seen before and who've have eaten the garden of a friend who lives near by. All just nature taking its course...


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sunrise 7:15: Lake is filling

There was enough light in the sky for the female Dawn Jogger to circle completely around Lake Lagunita again. She came across the duck pair that's taken up residence in the extreme west end, this morning bobbing in the channel of water descending from another reservoir above. Good news for the nest builders as the lake will stay relatively full. It was another pretty morning - tule fog on the lake, a bare hint of pink in the sky, and a hulking bird on water's edge (probably a Blue Heron but it has a turkey vulture look to it from afar). The duckling watch can begin...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunrise 7:16: Going for the green

The Dawn Joggers' St. Patrick's Day celebration got off to a good start yesterday with Grace and her parent's visit for the annual family corned beef and cabbage dinner. Grace looked the part of a leprechaun in festive outfit (including shoes!) thanks to fairy godmother Cathy. This morning the female Dawn Jogger reloaded her iPod Shuffle with almost two hundred tunes - sung and played by groups liek Eoin Duignan, Sliabh Notes and De Dannan and took off looking for a bit of the green. It was hard to find in the darkness. A clover flag saved the day when she was almost home. The DJs still talk about their wonderful music-filled trip to West Cork and Kerry...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sunrise 7:19: Glimmering green

The area around the Big Dish really is all decked out for St. Patrick's Day, showing off this morning in particular after an overnight rain sprinkle. The acreage that burned has six-inch tall grass; the grazing lands are making for happy cows. It was the first "full Dish" run the female Dawn Jogger had done in a month. And it couldn't have been more perfect...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sunrise 7:21: Glorious mustard

The mustard fields between the Stanford West housing and San Francisquito Creek are just glorious this year - extra high from all the January rain. The female Dawn Jogger could actually enjoy them this morning, having left the houses at dawn rather than the usual predawn. Just spoiling herself a bit...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sunrise 7:22: Watchful eyes

The predawn brings cats are their way home after their nightly rounds. Some perch patiently on the porch. One on Bay Laurel likes to come and greet the female Dawn Jogger. Others have made it inside already (or never go out!) and just like to watch the street scene below. Glowing eyes are easier to see in the semi-dark...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sunrise 7:24: Trail serendipity

The female Dawn Jogger didn't need to worry about golfers teeing off this morning - it was much too dark for that as she made her way across the first and second fairways on her way to do a Wednesday (finally back on schedule) Dish run. Even on top, there was only a hint of first blush on the Eastern horizon, although that didn't seem to diminish the usual crop of early AM Dish walkers and runners. The predawn brought out some scampering jack rabbits as well - do they know how seasonal they are? She wasn't sure if the chalk drawing she came upon on the trail going down the Piers Lane side of the Dish was an homage to the hares or some other creature. Does she needs to be concerned about larger, furrier things in the dark?...


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Noise in the dark

The Dawn Joggers have long observed that first light can bring with it a lot of noise. When a Blue Heron nests in their neighborhood, it's at predawn that he or she screeches upon taking flight from tree top. And what has amused the DJs most over the years is the quacking and honking that accompanies the ducks' and geese's landing in the water of Lake Lagunita (when there is a lawn). Now that the female DJ is running well before dawn, she was treated to lots of sounds on the lake this morning - and figures she could just barely make out. There was a blush of light on the eastern horizon...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunrise 7:27: It's dark

It's dark - and that about sums it up in the female Dawn Jogger's mind. Too dark to capture the gathering of a bunch of students gathered for an initiation or similar opportunity. Too dark to see the spring buds on the trees. Too dark to do much of anything but put one foot in front of another and make your way across campus. Yes, the many lighted paths help...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunrise 7:28: What about Easter?

It struck the female Dawn Jogger as she was getting ready to go to church this morning, the first of daylight savings time, that the current administration was not thinking very liturgically when it instituted the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This act was heralded by the current President at the bill signing as something that would not only boost the economy but make us more secure from terrorism.(How the female DJ remains unclear.) One thing it will do is plunge many Easter sunrise services, traditionally held at 6:30 AM, into darkness (unless local churches makes adjustments). The sun rose in Menlo Park last March 23 at 7:08 AM; projecting that 20 minute gain from today to other parts of the country translates to, as example, a 7:26 AM Easter sunrise in Cleveland and 6:45 AM in San Diego. Maybe the current President is just used to being in the dark. He's reportedly attended Easter "sunrise" services near his ranch in Crawford, Texas where they sun will rise this year about the same time as in Cleveland. At Trinity, the 6:30 AM Easter service is held in the Memorial Garden (pictured in background)...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sunrise 6:30: Llama patrol

Hoping to spot some wildlife (deer, coyote, wild turkey), the female Dawn Jogger got an early (for Saturday) start and headed out to the Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto. She figured, correctly, that it would be in its full glorious green. Signs of spring were around each trail curve - and she took almost 10 photos, far more than a usual morning outing. The big payoff was seeing and petting the pair of llamas (mother and daughter, being fed) that get walked on Saturday mornings in the Preserve. Just the usual scene in metropolitan area of millions of people...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sunrise 6:31: Dish before the darkness

It was just such another pretty morning - and the last weekday before early morning darkness returns - that the female Dawn Jogger did a Dish run. At this time of the year, the area is aglow in Irish green and the budding trees glisten. The male DJ selected the photo as he liked the way the Big Dish was being lit by the sun. It was exactly what struck the female DJ and prompted her to take the shot...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sunrise 6:33: Another really pretty morning

The female Dawn Jogger knows that some mornings are prettier than any scene captured. She get tell this was going to be one of them when she went out to get the papers and the sky already had a red glow. By the time she was sprinting across the golf course (which had frost in the rough!), it had turned more salmon. An old oak, standing between the first hole and the second tee, provided a nice silhouette. These dawn photos are darker than the scene appeared to female DJ's eye. According to the male DJ, this is because the brain is sophisticated image enhancement and corrects for light and dark. His brain is, by the way, about as good as it can get...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sunrise 6:34: Exposed nests

The squirrels in the Dawn Joggers' neighborhood nest in the many Liquid Amber trees. At this time of year, the nests are exposed to view, but soon, with the trees starting to bud, they will once again be protected by foliage. Most magnolia trees are already in bloom - and so visible the the early morning light. But, of course, light will turn to dark again on Saturday...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sunrise 6:36: Golden light on the lake

The female Dawn Jogger is relishing every golden sunrise this week, knowing she will be plunged back into the darkness next week. Lake Lagunita, while far from full, was home to some squawking geese today but otherwise all was calm. The Donald and Robin Kenned Kosher Coop seemed to glow from the west bank...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sunrise 6:37: God talk

There seems to be a lot of God talk on the Stanford campus in the past few months. Making her way across campus just before sunrise, the female Dawn Jogger spied posters promoting the appearance of Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, who has written a book called The Reason for God. In it he's compiled a list of the most frequently voiced "doubts" skeptics have as well as the most important reasons for faith. There seems to be an increasing number of faith-filled people and theologians who are reaching out to doubters, with wit and intellect (rather than fire and brimstone). Among progressive Christian, the female DJ has heard whispers of another reformation. Did it start with Barack's "faith speech" last June?...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunrise 6:39: Filled with Grace

It's a weekend filled with Grace in the female Dawn Jogger's mind. Granddaughter Grace was christened yesterday - and yes the famous John Newton hymm was played (ably as always by musician Joe Guthrie). With the male DJ taking a morning off from church, the female DJ decided to walk the couple miles to Holy Trinity and back. There she heard Amazing Grace again (all verses sung) and a good sermon by rector Mike Spillane about how we can all be blind but are called by our faith to see. Friends Julie and Bruce were good enough to pose between a budding tree...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sunrise 6:40: Spring is on the way

This is the third time the female Dawn Jogger has spotted a pair of ducks who have taken up "private" residence on a large pond adjacent to Lake Lagunita. She suspects a nest is in the works as the are a bit warier than usual as she jogged by on her way to run the Dish. Up on the hill, the oaks were starting to bud. Overcast skies made for perfect jogging temperature. Later today Grace will be baptized...