Berkeley mornings in the Fall

Of course, I started writing this a week ago, and we’ve had our daylight saving time switchover since then.  My mornings lately have been a very intense yet calming time for me.  My commute gives me plenty of time to reflect and relax.


I get up in the middle of the night and stumble into the shower.  Sometimes, if I’m lucky, the water stays hot until I can start to see the first lights of morning.  However, it usually only does this if I’m running very late.  I get out of the bathroom and walk carefully to my dresser lest I punt an overly affectionate (or lazy?) cat.

It is still dark.

I fumble around for clothes and quickly dress, dodging and shushing whining cats who complain that they haven’t eaten in at least they don’t even know.  Clare turns in bed and I stop, holding my breath like a burglar who has just heard someone returning two hours early.  I wait for her to settle back in and I exhale.  She goes back to sleep as she always does, but we repeat the same dance tomorrow. Stand up, stumble, tiptoe, step to the side, say ‘shhh’, turn, stop, exhale.  She wakes up every morning, but I don’t know if she realizes it.  Just the same, every morning I try not to wake her.  Sometimes I’ll stop and watch her for a moment. No one sleeps as beautifully as her.

I move into the front of the apartment, and the cats race ahead of me.  It’s usually light enough to find the catfood, though I still have to squint around to see where they’ve hidden their dishes.

Everything is low contrast – all dark shades of blue.  I put on my backpack, grab my keys and step into the crisp air outside.  My self and the falling leaves are the only moving things as I walk through a steel blue dawn backdrop.

Every twenty houses or so, a cat gravely watches me from a doorstep.  I always call to them, but they never acknowledge me.  Cats seem more serious at dawn.  They stand at attention on patio steps as if they had been there all night, guarding their homes from the dark.

Now I’m just starting to see sunlight reaching over the tops of the hills.  Everything is still blue, but there is more and more of a life to it.  Others are walking with me, now.  The quiet morning seems to dominate people’s moods; there is a quiet rush, glances may be exchanged, but nothing more.

I’m nearly to the BART station, and signs of life are starting to show, slowly.  Cars move quickly along the streets, tearing through the tranquility of the morning.  I board my train, suddenly finding myself standing in a throng of people.  The train plunges us back into darkness, and for 15 minutes I fight internally trying to convince myself that it is still morning.

And finally we shoot out of the tunnels beneath Oakland and up into the full morning.  The Sun has cleared the hills now, but is still nestled among the fog, creating a fiery golden glow.  The blue fog is just starting to scatter, giving the whole landscape a mystical feeling.

What purpose in these deeds oh fox confessor please?  It’s not for you to know, but for you to weep and wonder. – Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

2 thoughts on “Berkeley mornings in the Fall

  1. Perhaps oddly and obsessively, I’ve waited all too long for an entry from you. Dunno why, possibly cuz I miss reading it. But at any rate, a peace well written that brought back images from working midnight shipments at Petco in the morning with a similar sense of observation/what have you. I’m sure with the advent of Facebook, old “by the fly entries” of yore are long dead, but I’d definitely like to see more than one entry every year and a half 😉

  2. Believe me, I miss writing them. It just seems hard to find the time to write them.

    I’ll try to write more of those off the cuff entries – it seems like those are sometimes more entertaining to (re-)read than the long ones.

    Oh, and nice pun.

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