Rolling over at 4:00AM is not unusual for me. Not being able to fall back asleep is. I’m not sure what kept me from sweet unconscious slumber, but for whatever reason, my body was done with the comfort of my bed.
I slogged to the kitchen and made my usual coffee in my usual travel mug, and sat down to the computer to distract myself with the usual Facebook posts. Numbing. It’s still very dark outside. I check the local weather forecast and note that sunrise is in about an hour. Hmmmmm – I never get to watch the sun rise over the lake; A sight my GF has been begging for me to enjoy with her for 7 years.
I grab a giant blueberry muffin and shove it into my pie hole. Scarfing it down as I soak up each “like” dopamine hit from my FB posts from the night before. More numbing.
Sunrise eh? That requires me getting my buddha belly off this chair and making the 1/2 hour drive to the lake. Could be cool. I think the coffee is kicking in, because I am actually getting up to find the shit I need to head out the door.
I find myself on some sort of autopilot, as I make my way out of the subdivision and onto the nearly empty freeway. Heck, I can barely remember the drive now. The only thing that sticks is this thought I had – “I better make it before that damn sun comes up!”
As I head through the downtown interchange, I note that there is already an orange sliver over the lake. DANG IT! I MISSED IT! Well, maybe what’s left will be cool anyway.
I pass the majestic Calatrava, and note how the morning glow hits it. No time to stop for that shot, gotta get to an open area. The sun rises much further north than I anticipate, so I continue up the cost. I hurriedly scope out a spot, and stop. No time, I don’t want to miss what is left!
I rush out to the meager beach there, snapping some photos as I walk. Ya know, just in case I “miss it”. My first catch of the day.
As I approach the beach, another casual morning type crosses in front of me. “CRAP! Dude, you are totally in my way!” Meh, okay, so I have to walk another 50 feet past him to get the view I want. The sun is already up, what is another 3 minutes?
I finally get setup, and snap a bunch of pics. Then I start to really look around. Trying to find those really juicy shots with shadows and interesting objects in the fore and background. A couple of guys are taking a morning swim, and their tiny heads just add to the scene.
Some gulls appear, all fighting one another for a scrap of food that each continually captures and then drops, only to have it happen over and over. The squawking breaks the near silent mood. Finally one gets a good grasp of the delectable treat and takes off for land. Everyone speedily follows in anticipation of getting or stealing this morsel.
The chaos is over, and the sereneness returns. Nothing but the warming orange ball just over the water, and the gentle lap of calm Great Lake waves. Time for a mello video to capture the moment. Perfect – that’ll bring a few dopamine hits later.
I move off that space and walk around to get more shots from different places. A jogger passes by on the path. DANG! I’m not in the right place to grab them in the sunrise. I shrug that off and move on.
With dozens of shots safely stashed into my memory card, and the sun now starting to rise above anything too spectacular, I remember the voice of one of my mentors from his podcast earlier in the week. STOP, and just soak it in.
The first cup O’ Joe was maybe wearing off, so I could find that sweet peaceful spot to sit, put down the camera, and just let myself drench in the warm glow of the now yellowing sun. I find a bench and sit.
Just being seems difficult for me. I don’t know why. My brain decides to tell me that maybe I’ve been ADHD all these years and never realized it. WTF brain? Where is that coming from? You’re weird! Clearing those thoughts, I sit back, and enjoy the dancing flight of the now abundant swallows as they dart around the beach snapping up their unsuspecting breakfast.
Bored after about 15 min of that, I pack up my things and trudge back to the car, noticing all the trash left behind along the way by the late night lake partiers from the night before. As I approach the car, I look back, and capture one more for the road.
More coffee is definitely needed. It is now 6:30 and I still desire to find that stillness, and not yet in the mood to travel back home, so I head for the tranquil coffee shop that is right on the lake. Crammed into the ancient building that still houses the city’s very first water pumping station, Collectivo is a gem of a place to grab some java, sit and contemplate the world.
I’m not the first to arrive, but I am the first to grab a seat on the very large patio overlooking the marina on the lake. AAAH, sweet silence. Maybe I can just soak in and let go. I get comfortable, close my eyes, and begin breathing in the calm.
About 10 min later – SCEEEEEK – the sound of a metal chair being pulled along the brick patio pierces the serene mood. After the guest is settled, I attempt to get back to my meditative state. But much like my inability to get back to sleep earlier, my efforts at mindful nirvana go for naught.
More guests start pouring in. The sun is still in a picturesque place, and my mind goes back to looking for those perfect shots. Click – that’s cool. Click – there’s another nice one. Click, click, click. OY! My brain!
Realizing that I am just distracting myself again, I find a new chair, and settle into looking at the light and shadows before me. I begin to observe the different shades of green in the leaves as the sun attempts to blaze through them. I focus on the harlequin haze of a small set of petals reaching out. The color is blissful, and I begin to picture it as if in a 120 box of crayola’s. I can’t see it. Even if it was one, it would be one of the lonely never used, ever sharp crayons sitting in the back of the box.
There is some stillness in all of this, and it brings to my brain the much desired “letting go” feeling it wanted. I have found that relief. Some souped up truck ROARS by and breaks the spell. With a terse look on my face I wonder why do people feel the need to make their vehicles louder than they already are?
As the place fills, now about 40 people and animals strong, I decide that I am up for the people watching portion of the day. As I look around the cafe, I note that pretty much 90% of the people there have their noggins buried in their phones. I am a tad disconcerted, but also understand as my own will to do the same has been difficult to resist. My inner being grieves at this thought. How did we get to this place?
Here are just some random observations of the rest:
- One man is flipping through note cards. I wonder if he has a speech coming up?
- One man is strumming gently on a very nice ukulele. It is a gentle and soothing little tune.
- Two college girls are quietly chatting, with no phones in sight. They are nibbling their savory treats in bird like portions as they gab.
- Another man is seemingly doing business at this early Sunday morning hour. I’m not sure, but he keeps talking into his phone like it’s voice to notes, and then typing on his laptop. He gets up and moves around a lot.
- Two men are in a heated discussion about the world. Well, actually one of them is mostly listening, or pretending to.
- One very Jeffry Davis looking chap is attempting to read between conversations with his wife.
- A lone female off in the corner can’t seem to put her phone down to save her life. She knocks over her coffee while reaching for a sip.
- A greasy looking fellow is just off the patio on a bench, chain smoking and guzzling his second extra large cup of mud.
- A biker is adjusting something on his 10 speed with painstaking precision.
- Some stud drifts past me, his over Polo’d skin chokes each person as he passes (Its funny to watch the heads pop up from their phones one by one). Dude, it’s way too early for that!
- The high pitched screech of the Cicada’s reminds me that summer is beginning it’s wain. August is just on the other side of this weekend.
- The sparrows chirp in the bushes, and their counterparts dance under the tables looking for dropped scraps. They have little fear of the people around.
- A German Shepherd puppy keenly watches the sparrows. No barking, no tugging at the leash. Just deliberately observing.
- The morning has it’s own scent that is kissed by the surrounding flowers, the hint of coffee, and the rise of orange as the puppies owner peels back the rind to suck out the fruit of his meal’s garnish. (Now that the polo cologne scent has evaporated)
- The butterflies and bees just do their work seemingly oblivious to the human buzz all around them.
- The sun continues it’s rise, as do the temps. The growing warmth of my body enveloped in my cherished GLP zip-up hoodie snaps me out of observation mode. It’s almost 9:00, perhaps it’s time to get home.
As I get up to leave, I take one last look around. Probably about 75 people there now. Maybe down to only 60% of them glued to their devices.
I get to my car and notice a shiny new red 2017 Grand Sport Corvette c07 parked next to me. Two young muscular Russian oligarch types with their heavy gold chains glistening in the sun get out. I joke with them, “How dare you park such a hunk of junk next to my pristine car?” He smirks and in a heavy accent replies, “Well, I have nowhere else to park it.” Smiling, I get into my 2003 Toyota Corolla and depart.
The freeway is busier now, with people rushing off to their Sunday morning doings. At a stoplight I see an advert on the side of a city bus – “That’s doable” And he went out and did it. – US BANK. I kinda like it. ANNNNND kinda also think that is WAY oversimplified. LOL. Time to turn off the observation hyperdrive.
Home on my patio, it is still very comfortable in the shade. The coolness brings me back to earlier in the morning, reminding me of it’s stillness. I don’t want that to end. I notice my garden and get up to take a closer look at the fruits of my labor. HA! “Fruits of MY labor?” I just dug some holes and hurled a few cheap seedlings from the local discount garden center into the earth. The plants themselves (with some help from the bees, butterflies and storm clouds) did all the work to bring on such beautiful blooms.
I note the last of the day lilies reaching for the sun. Like a toddler stretching to grasp a sippy cup just out of reach, they open their petals to the sky to drink in the morning. I understand their desire.
I begin to think that maybe keen observation is my own weird sort of meditation. It seems to sooth me, and take me away to that calm nirvana type place. Maybe it doesn’t have to be all quiet, still and empty to find that.
I’m not a morning person. But I SURE enjoyed this one.
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