Summer Sunrise

12 July 2007

Out here? Out here is a sky so gentle
Five stars are ventured on it. I can see
The sky’s pale belly glowing and growing big,
Soon to deliver the moon. And I can see
A glittering smear, the snail-trail of the sun,
Where it crawled with its golden shell into the hills.
A darkening land sunken into prayer,
Lucidly, in dewdrops of one syllable,
Nunc dimittis. I see twilight madame.

The Lady’s not for Burning, Christopher Fry

I had an hour and ¾ run this morning so I was out the door at about 5:30. I had intended to run west to More Mesa but the sky was so beautiful I turned the other way and ran east to the bird sanctuary so I could look at it.

The first clear day after a week of fog (grrr — if only the fog had rolled in a day earlier. Just one day and the 4th July run would have been much nicer). There are horizontal bands of clouds across the eastern horizon — the underside a deep orange, and there, floating amid the orange bands is a thin crescent moon. By the time I’ve climbed up to the Wilcox the colour has brightened and even the wisps of cloud overhead have caught it.

Unusually for a summer’s day, the islands are clear across the channel, small flecks of clouds above them but no fog.

And then I turn away from the ocean toward the mountains as I trot up Oliver. The gold is even more intense in this direction. I really wish I’d brought my camera.

Ten minutes later and all the colour is gone.

Now the newspaper tells me that the sun rises at 5:56 in SB today, but that’s a lie. That’s when the sun hits the horizon. But in the summer the sun rises (and sets) behind the mountains. The sun did not actually look down on me until 6:25 or so.

It’s kind of neat… six months ago, at winter solstice, I went to look at both sunrise and sunset from Hendry’s beach. At that time of year the sun rises and sets over the ocean (and so the official “sunrise” time is correct — I can see the horizon). But now the sun has moved north and couches behind the hills.

I ran into Brooke along the waterfront and we commented on how beautiful the morning was.

But I was also thinking about Kornell’s comment last week telling me not to breath shallowly. I’ve been trying for deeper breathing. But I’ve also noticed that there is a reason for the shallow breathing. It means my breath is in sync with my stride. Not really a very surprising observation, any two proximate oscillators are likely to become entrained, but it does mean this is a low energy state. I also notice that each time my left foot strikes it helps to expel the breath.

So if I’m going to alter my breathing pattern I need to keep these two things in mind. One breath every two strides (or possibly every stride and a half? or three strides? whatever) and an exhale on a foot strike. If I don’t retain those two then I’ll be expending more energy, not saving it.

horizontal rule

The next day is a more normal summer’s day. A light haze means the islands are barely visible. There are no clouds and no colour. A clear blue morning, but not exciting.


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