Up and out the door as soon
As there is enough light to see.
Not enough light yet to avoid triggering
The motion-sensor backyard spotlight, though.
Quickly I step beyond its glare,
Out onto the sidewalk, headed briskly
I know not where exactly, but
With a vague notion of an hour’s route
For this cool, misty early August ramble.
Since the solstice, day
Lengths have been shortening,
Almost imperceptibly at first,
But now with increasing speed.
Nearby construction equipment sits dormant,
Not yet clanging, rumbling, and belching exhaust.
Car traffic along the street is minimal, too.
The birds have yet to begin
Their morning tune-ups. Dogs and their
Walkers are still mostly abed.
I turn north, trot uphill beside a west-facing ravine.
Intertwined streets then nudge me eastward toward
Distant ridges that mask a rising sun. The marine
Layer is fickle—thickly foggy in some canyons,
Totally absent in others.
I pass lawns too lush for this arid climate.
Precisely timed sprinklers moisten them
For maximum impact, before the sun’s ascent.
Interspersed yards erupt instead in spiny cacti,
Yuccas, succulents, clumps of native grasses.
Eventually I head south homeward, past a covid-adapted
Gym’s outdoor patio, where pre-office exercisers
Begin their morning routines. Trainers bellow,
Crank up energetic music. Next door,
A small flashing neon “OPEN” at the local bake
Shop beckons. I stop to check breakfast options.
The sun by now has crested the Mission Hills,
Casting intermittent shadows on me,
On the exercisers, the trainers, the bake shop.
Small pastry secured in my shoulder sack, I
Pause before trudging the final blocks to
The housing complex that’s my new home.
“When do you open?” I ask, after searching vainly
For a posted schedule. “We come in at six,”
The proprietor tells me. “Early, before the sun.”