Greeting the Sun

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I almost never set an alarm. I wake early. I can’t help it. If I need to wake at 6:00 I wake by 6:00. These days I get up even earlier. Ideally I wake at 5:00. That way I can be out the door by 5:15/5:20. It is May. This is the time to go birding. Usually I wake by 5:15. This morning? 5:00 on the dot.

Typically I sneak out of bed and head to the bathroom. The night before I lay out clothes to go out, based on the weather. When I rise I brush my teeth, pop in contact lenses, dress, and split. It is plenty light these days by 5:30. The sun rises just before 6:00. I slowly walk down the driveway, looking and listening for birds. This morning by the time I walked that tenth of a mile I had counted 15 different species.

Today just past the fields and the river (Swamp Sparrows, Snipes, Barn Swallows, Phoebes, a couple Yellow Warblers and many others) I ducked up into the woods. This morning it was a birding bonanza. There is a window of days, and we’re in it now, when the leaves are not yet back on the trees and the song birds are starting to do their thing. Today I got the benefit of that. I saw my first Wood Thrush of the year (singing like a champ), my first Brown Thrasher, nine different warbler species (including Golden Winged, a hard one to find), a Blue Headed Vireo and a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. At one point there were 15 or so warblers in the trees around me flitting back and forth. It was a sight.

When the sun tops the hills the birds move around, but not for long. By 7:00 things were pretty still. It pays to get out early. That saying about the early bird? Right on the money.

Turkey in the fog

Turkey in the fog

Weather

Last weekend we had some fine weather.  We took a family walk with some friends in Shelburne, had a picnic, enjoyed the views and the cool breezes.  Good times were had. We had some of this:

Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks

And some of this:

Walking Route

Last night, the clouds starting dropping their burdens. Today we had a whole lot of this:

Rain While Waiting for the School Bus

I walked around outside a bit today and I got wet more than once. I have to say, however, I love this stuff. Fall rain, with foliage turning and the cool air and woodsmoke in the air. I mean, does it get better than that?

Frosty Foggy Morning

We got our first frost this morning.  It was chilly and foggy, with ice settled on the grass and leaves and rocks.  Mist rose from the river.  I ran early again, determined to keep getting out there before the day gets too far underway. It always seems worth rising early, and today was no exception.  I ran into the fog across the river, I watched the sun tip over the hills, and I saw the color seep into the leaves with the morning light.  It was the last morning of summer.  It let me know that fall is here.  Apparently it arrived a day early.

Fog Over the River

Mist in the Valley

Running Into the Fog

Running Into the Fog

Frost on the Cut Field

Frost on the Cut Field

First Light on a Turning Maple

First Light on a Turning Maple

Cows Appreciate the Sun's Warmth

Cows Ready for the Sun's Warmth

Running Back

Running Back

Fog Lingering Over the River

Fog Lingering Over the River

Frost Lingering in the Field

Frost Lingering in the Field

Stanky Towels

I can’t remember needing to replace kitchen towels so soon after getting them but the one we have now are on their way out.  When did we get them?  I don’t know.  Within the last year.  Some of them reek after getting wet, even when freshly laundered.  I’m done with them.

We have tried a few things but they just can’t seem to get clean.  Maybe they would be better off if we didn’t use the eco-friendly detergents.  Do we need to use some harsh nasty poisons to get our towels clean?  I thought the sun would do the trick–leave them on the clothesline and that big old ball of fire would kill any nasty microscopic bugs.  Didn’t do it.

I hate to spend money on dish towels.  I’d rather buy an iTouch or a new shirt.  Not that I would buy 300 bucks worth of towels.  On second thought, maybe the towels are a good deal.  I could spend 50 bucks and have something that brings at least a small amount of pleasure.  The towels wouldn’t play games or give me the weather forecast, but they would get the dishes dry without the stink.

The stink.  Yuck.  Not all the towels are that bad.  But man, I’d like to ditch the ones that are.  Maybe I will get on that this weekend.  Apparently, I have a budget of $50.  That should get me started.

Up and Out in the Morning

This has been a bad week for running.  I have not gotten motivated enough to give up sleep and make it happen in the morning.  And I have been home too late in the evening to really make a go of it.  Too many things to balance.  We a had a friend visiting for three nights and, of course, we stayed up late to hang.  He did come all the way from California.  This morning, however, I finally rallied for a morning run.

It wasn’t long.  I had to get back so I could get myself and the kids ready for the day.  But it was fine.  I left when it was light enough to see (no headlamp required) but the sun had not yet risen.  It was the perfect morning, although it was cold (26 degrees when I left the house).  I had no regrets about losing a little sleep.

There is a time when the world feels perfectly at peace.  The light creeps over the hills but the sun will not appear for a bit.  The eastern sky is pink or golden.  The blackbirds are beginning to chirp their chorus.  The frost glows.  The air is still.  No one else seems to be stirring.  The river shushes smoothly under the bridge.  It is quiet except for the waking birds and the sound of my feet.

That is the morning I had.  The mud was mostly frozen, so it was easy to navigate the rutted road–no sinking into the mire.  I crunched along past the fields, through the woods, onto the open road and over the hill to see the sun toss its head over the mountains.  And then the world was bright.  I felt the warm spring angle of that sun immediately, my layers instantly too much.  As I trotted north, the light flashed through the bare trees like the light from an old reel projector.

So maybe it wasn’t a bad week for running.  I haven’t gotten in many miles but this morning sure did feel like it made up for it.  It was peaceful.  It was beautiful.  I felt great.  I came home feeling calm and ready for what might come.  As I turned from the road onto our long driveway, I felt  happy to be alive, that this day was a gift.  I felt as though I was starting, right that moment, with days and days of living to come.  And hopefully, I am.

If I do not have those days and days left before I reach the great whatever it is that comes after this life, it will not have been a bad day to end on.  I hope, however, to have many more mornings like this one.

A Western Day

It was a day that made me feel that I was in the west.  The sky was clear blue and the winter air made it seem I could see forever.  The snow on the mountains shone brightly in the sun.  Everything seemed to be in high relief.  It was a high contrast perfect type of day.

It never rose about freezing.  The highest temperature I noted was 27 degrees.   The sun, however, warmed things enough that the children ran around for a couple of hours without jackets.  I trust that they know when they are cold.  They will ask for more clothes if they need them.  Today they were good to go with sweatshirts.

The air was dry.  I ran six miles this afternoon, abandoning my winter hat not long into it for a brimmed cap.  Once I warmed up I did not worry about frostbite on my ears even with a breeze.  The sun is higher now.  Two months ago the same temperature and wind conditions and clear skies would not have felt so warm.  Spring arrives in one month.

I felt tired running today.  I might be fighting off the sickeness that my wife managed to catch.  She spiked a fever.  She never spikes a fever.  If I had even a touch of that business, it makes sense that I would be tuckered after six miles.  Although, admittedly, I felt tired even at mile one.  What gives with that?  But I slogged it out slowly and felt fairly good by the time I got back.  I hope tomorrow gets me going in better shape than that.

My run today reminded me of runs I have taken in the west–cold, clear days with air that feels fresh.  It only feels that way around here in the winter.  The trees are bare so I can see much farther and the air is dry.  We rarely get that dry air here in the summer.  We get plenty of humidity and lots of green.  I don’t think of that as western.

There is a good chance we will get a storm later this week.  Tomorrow will be another beauty and I am taking it off for President’s Day.  I need to celebrate my patriotism and all that.  Wave a few flags and remember the deeds of great men.  I will do some playing of some sort.  We head to the Adirondacks in a week.  I am hoping we get a blast of snow in time for that.  Then we can do lots of playing, western day or not.

Stuff in the Night

The stars finally came out last night.  Orion peeked over the horizon to look down on the melting snow.  Clouds came back at some point.  It was dripping this morning.

At one point I heard a great horned owl.  It called and called.  I listened to it from my post in bed.  It was too bad no one else heard it.  Soon they will start to look for mates, next month even.  They will be calling again.

My son woke up in the night.  He stumbled about in a sleepy state before going back to sleep.  He told me he loved me before he dozed off.  I feel asleep smiling, if that is possible.

I have had some clear dreams recently.  Bizarre, as one might expect from dreams.  But last night I don’t remember any dreams.  I slept or I woke.  Perhaps I did not dream at all.

I woke before the sun, which is easy to do these days.  It was almost 7:30 by the time the sun climbed over the ridge.  I had thought I might run right then but got caught up in a morning with children.  I ran later.

It was a good night.  I slept enough and saw and heard good things.  Let’s hope I get another one of those tonight.  Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this.