Beautiful out there this morning. Warmer than yesterday and breezy. As I stepped out for a walk with the pups, I noticed a faint sweetness on the wind, something blooming nearby, but what I’m unsure of. But I think it’s citrus from the yard across the street. It’s quieter this morning than it has been, just the sounds of our footsteps and the breeze in the trees. The skies are clear, more clear than they’ve been in a while, and I stop and look up at the stars. I’m not the best at reading stars, but I do recognize a few things and my eyes pick up on the Big Dipper in the west. No sign of Orion this morning, though… but it is a different time of year, and the stars change with time, much like ourselves. Quiet, quiet quiet… as we move through the neighborhood, it seems like the city has calmed down from that frantic, time-change, clock rush of just a few days ago. The city has figured out that, no, they won’t be late for work… push that snooze button. As we turn for the loop home, and we crest The Hill, I can see the Tehachapis silhouetted against the impending dawn… a long lumpy horizon against a Parrish blue sky… I just stop and stare… and there, above, like an exclamation point, is Venus… And the peak of Bear Mountain points straight up at it… I stand there, soaking it all in, relishing this moment… and I see the faintest orange creep up from the horizon… It’s so clear out, the dawn will be piercing, and sharp, and crisp, in just a little while… better bring your sunglasses.
The buzz of the city washes over me as I open the front door. The pups and I step out for our morning walk and, compared to yesterday, we’re two hours late. I don’t normally walk this late, but it is Friday, and I don’t have to teach today. Being awake for awhile in the middle of the night doesn’t help either, but that’s ok… I’m in no hurry. We step onto the street, our shadows stretching onto the pavement. Everywhere are the sounds of the morning commute, the rush to work, to school, to wherever. We walk, quietly, but for the jangle of dog hardware… clinks and chings… Bear mountain is nowhere to be seen, even though I know it’s right there. It’s shrouded in the valley haze. The sky is a pale blue, not that deep color I love, and streaked with contrails from east to west, horizon to horizon. We walk and walk. I pull the dogs close as drive-time cars pass, people on their way to eight o’clock. We turn the corner and my shadow stretches across the street to the opposite sidewalk, mirroring my each step, and each of the dogs. I hear a commotion off overhead. At the pinnacle of a pine tree to my left is a hawk, sitting on the very tip, and he’s being harassed by crows. They’re not afraid of him, they’re easily his size. But he doesn’t flinch and holds his spot looking over the neighborhood. The crows finally give up and head for another tree and I, too, forget about the hawk for now. It’s not much further on and I hear a whooosh! and the shshshsh of little wings right overhead. I glance up just in time to see a flock of little birds swirl and dive out of the way of a dark bullet. The hawk is only a blur as he dives through the clutch of birds… I can’t tell if he will be having breakfast this morning… I stand there in awe of the morning… of this sight, this small spectacle that takes place, even as the city purrs and groans and shakes on it’s way to Friday.
I was up early, so I got the pups up early for our walk. Just a little after five, and we’re out the door. I’m sure the wife thinks I’m crazy, but I was awake and couldn’t sleep, and if I’m getting up the pups usually get up, too, so… out the door we go. It’s warm out this morning, warmer than it’s been. I have a long sleeve shirt on over my t-shirt, and by the end of the walk even that feels too much. I am already missing the winter. And before anyone responds with how bad a winter it’s been, I live in California and we had an exceptionally dry winter and we’re facing the worst drought on record… so, yes, I will miss winter, thank you. But there are clouds overhead… so maybe we’ll get some sprinkles? I can hope… so I do. And we walk in our neighborhood, up the hills, into the little gulleys, along the sleeping homes… and, even at this early in the morning, I see neighbors out for their morning. A lady walking here, a man on this street for his exercise… and, of course, the usual dog-suspects are all awake, warnings coming from behind fences and in dark back yards. The pups and I do our thing, still, and continue on our way. This morning little Jack is lagging a bit, so I slow my pace a little. He’s the eldest of the three. And he’s the smallest… not that you could tell by his spirit, though. Jack will try to dominate a Great Dane… I know, I’ve seen him do it at the dog park! But perhaps today he’s not quite feeling himself… Cathi and I watch for little hints as all three of our pups are older now. But he still loves these morning walks and is always eager for them. He gets so excited I can hardly keep him quiet in the mornings… On and on, we walk, we listen, we watch, we walk… Even this early, the neighborhood is awake.