15 August 2017

early bird

la aube

toute à l'heure

la pénombre
My best mornings start in the dark – an accidental early wake-up call brought on by a vivid dream or a dog scratching at my door. I wake up before the sun has a chance to stretch. There's an ultimate stillness in the house, broken only by my tip toes across the hard-wood floors as I make my way into the kitchen. Some days, I spend my mornings french-pressing, but today feels different. As I make my way down to the bottom of a big glass of water, I brainstorm how to utilize such an early start to my day. I can go anywhere, there won't be traffic for a couple of hours. I have nothing planned for today...
The glass hits the counter and I've made my decision: I'm going on a hike. A sunrise hike. I pack up a brunch for an after-workout treat, grab the good socks and my worn down shoes, and I hit the road. It's amazing how close Griffith Park is when Google gives the green light of traffic.
I park and follow these two older asian women up a pretty intermediate path. I'm thirty years younger than them and they're absolutely killing this hiking game. On my third water stop break, I'm doubting being here. What am I doing with my life? This shrubbery is ugly, I'm out of shape, I haven't rationed my water, and I definitely wore the wrong underwear. The coconut oil I put in my hair the night before mixes in with my sweat, creating a sweet sheet of salty whatever on the crown of my head. It drips along my eyelashes, clouding my view until I get the chance to wipe it off.
Complaining isn't going to do anything. I'm on this mountain, I can backtrack the shitty way I came or I can find a better viewpoint.
I twist the cap back on my water bottle, unzip my jacket and continue upward.
An hour later, I find myself in an oasis of mist and trees, benches and stumps damp from dew. Amir's Garden. This place felt like a pond in the middle of the Sahara. I picked a bench, took out my phone, and meditated for ten minutes. Deep breaths, mental focus and unfocus. Eyelids closed off to the beauty surrounding me. People passed but I gave them no mind. Thoughts danced in and out of my mental window. The best part about meditation is that I forget where I am. All I know is that my butt sits on a surface, and my belly grows and shrinks with air. I open my eyes to the jungle around. I take out a pen and notepad from my leg pocket. Red against white, I write:

                      I want my ashes to be buried with seeds, so that I may grow into a tree by a stream.                I want Wind to swoosh through my leaves like summer car rides with the windows down. She'll sway with my branches like Saturday nights as the birds perch like pendants for a dash of color on my brown body. This is how life will be until it isn't, and I'm returned to ash climbing the sky in a swirl of smoke.

The sun rises as I put away my things. I finish the hike as the city awakens, beams hitting buildings bringing downtown to life. I walk along the observatory. There's a man power washing the steps. The old women from earlier drink tea at a small table. A couple take and retake photos in front of the hollywood sign. I wonder what they think of me as I walk by. Maybe they don't think of me at all.