Our 6 a.m. walks are one of the best parts of my day these days. The weather is perfect, the sun just up, the breeze still with a hint of coolness from the last remnants of evening, few people out and about, so little need to wear the mask I carry at all times. We live 1/2 mile up the hill from the start of Sunset Cliffs. Ideal at sunset, obviously, but beautiful in the morning as well.
From Gentle Chirps to Loud Squawks
The wild parrots that frequent our area were out in force at dawn, squawking to bring in the new day. We passed several of them on our way down the hill, and two in particular flew close enough to touch, then perched on a tree branch to give me an opportunity to admire them before flying off in a search for food. The parrots are a colorful addition to the neighborhood, and noisy as heck at sunrise and sunset. No melodious tunes from their throats, but they are a joy to look at and it’s just cool to have them perch nearby, so unexpected among the softer grey and brown birds I typically see.
Music and Movement
When we made our way down the hill to the cliffs, there were only a few people about. One of them, which you can barely see in the photo below, had found a quiet spot just over the water and was playing his guitar. The tune didn’t carry far enough for me to hear, but it was magical nonetheless. A few steps further a woman had set up her yoga mat and was practicing by herself. I often say I’m going to bring my mat down, but am too embarrassed to do so knowing others will be watching. One day I’m going to be unselfconscious enough to enjoy the breeze and beauty of an ocean-side practice without worrying what other people think.
My Partners in Crime
My husband, a huge Earth, Wind and Fire fan, patiently waited for me to walk down closer to the water, to breath in the ocean air, to be close enough to be feel the power and energy of the crashing waves, to fill me up for the day ahead. Our dog was not so patient for my picture-taking, but is the most wonderful dog in the world. A rescue from Tijuana, she is loving and kind and doesn’t let the big dogs bully her but never acts aggressive toward others (except, for some inexplicable reason, our postman).
Admiring My Neighbors’ Yards
On the way back up the hill, I enjoyed capturing images of my neighbor’s yards. Some are filled with roses and picket fences and remind me of the English countryside. Others are wooded, with beautiful shade trees looking serene and stately at the same time. About half are more typical of southern California, with bougainvillea climbing the fence, and succulents displaying a water-wise landscaping encouraged in our climate. My favorite this morning was the cactus growing in the back of a house under construction down our dirt alley. Easily missed, but with a solitary beauty.
Signs Along the Way
Finally, I noted the signs along the way. From graffiti on a Neighborhood Watch sign to a generally ignored warning not to feed the birds. My favorite is the brightly colored Justice for All’s wisdoms, and the gratitude expressed in a thank-you for those risking their lives.
It was only about 3,900 steps on my way to 10,752 so far, but with much to experience along the way. The more I remind myself to pay attention — to think about what sounds I hear, what sights I see, what smells I notice — the more aware I am of each step I take along the way in my one wild and precious life, the more I love and appreciate my day.
Wishing you many beautiful walks in your neighborhood!