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.
We stepped out into the dark with only the morning star and the gentle light of the impending day to greet us. I could see the faintest hint of a deep red on the horizon, draped on the shoulders of Bear Mountain and the ridge line to the north. The neighborhood was already alive with the noise of Friday, an exclamation mark to the week that had come. Birds, trains, dogs, garbage trucks… everyone was awake. No sneaking quiet this morning. It’s funny to me how different each morning is around this same time. The pups and I walked along, with me looking over my shoulder to keep an eye on the dawn. More cars, a gardener and his truck, I pull the pups close and stick to the gutter as we walk the busier streets. We turn to the east, its the hill with the fire hydrant, the one that looks out across the east towards the mountains. The colors in the sky dazzle me… I stand and just look. Deep reds, oranges a hint of peach and pink… It almost hurts to look at it, to take it all in, and for that moment I feel like I am the only one in this universe, and this show in the sky, it is all just for me… As I am standing there, thinking this, looking at the spectacle of color, it subtly changes… the colors grow softer, the intensity diminishes just a little. I am awash in gratitude… That was the apex, that moment, there by the hydrant, there with the dogs oblivious to anything other than the smells on the grass, and it has just passed… The rest of the walk is literally downhill… And we turn for home, and I think of coffee, and as I walk along the final block to home, my nose catches just a hint of cooking bacon on the air… and I smile.
I’m up early this morning. Excited about being back in school, about seeing the new kids, about teaching. I’m up early enough that I had to wake the pups from their slumber to walk the neighborhood. First, Sophie asleep on the couch. Then Teddy, always vigilant when walks are concerned and eager to go once he realized. Then I had to roust old Jack, sleeping deeply, but once he saw what was going on, he was ready, too.
Up before the dawn, all of us out the door. It’s cold, but not as cold as it has been, as it could be. Up and out before the dawn, so there’s no sunrise to report about. We walked and walked and it was silent but for one rooster some streets over. We walked before the sun, we walked before the birds awoke, we walked before the garbage trucks, we walked before the day began. We walked for me, for the pups, for you. We walked for the quiet city still asleep… We walked for the stars above, circling endlessly. We walked to call the sun forth to light our way and to warm our day. We walked and walked, quietly here, but for the jingle of tags and the squeak of one man’s old shoe. We walked for the day, to call forth from the dark. We walked. We walked.