A Slow Waking

The cloud cover in the eastern sky looked promising this morning, so I returned to the house, stuffed the camera into the small backpack, finished the day’s first cup of tea, and slipped outside. While opening the garage door, a quick glance at the horizon told me that I’d moved more slowly through the house than I thought. There would be no time to stop for coffee. I’d have to put off that indulgence until the ride back home.

Being late for the sky has happened more often lately. It is easy enough to fix the blame for my increasing tardiness on my advancing age. Though I still naturally wake early, my engine frequently sticks in idle, and it takes me longer to warm up and get rolling in the intended direction, though I’m often not aware of it until later.

As usual, Anza Narrows’ thin entrance road was awash in runoff water from the park’s lawn sprinklers, and I slowly negotiated the three curves leading to my favored hilltop shooting location in first gear. The water flowing across the asphalt was not a danger in itself, since the bike’s Bridgestone tires are reasonably soft and maintain a good grip in even the wettest conditions, but the park maintenance crews are not good at cleaning up after themselves and frequently leave large patches of dirt on the road. With the addition of water, the dirt patches turn to marl. Zero friction. Those patches are difficult to spot under the water in the half-dark and like sections of black ice, the muddy sections might as well be oil pools.

After the initial rush on city streets, then the enforced crawl through the ascending curves, I finally got the tripod and camera set up and breathed a bit easier.

For the next forty or fifty minutes I’d have to do nothing more strenuous than stand watching the rim of the Earth, look through the viewfinder, and occasionally depress the shutter button.

Even if the sunrise turned out to be less than photogenic, the trip would be worth the effort. On days when I only make a frame or two, there is always the early quiet, the flights of birds across the brightening sky, and the peaceful, slow waking of my small corner of the world. Even without a cup of coffee in my hand, there are much worse ways to meet a new day.

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