I woke up before my alarm went off this morning, my brain churning and swirling with details. It was my turn to take the dog for his morning walk, and instead of trying to return to sleep for a short time, I got up to take him out. My brain was restless. (The dog, it should be noted, was lazily stretched out in his bed, and twice I had to go back and encourage him to get up.)
Outside, we made our way through the silence of the neighborhood — no one was up and about yet — and I burrowed into my fleece against the damp Pacific wind that doesn’t seem to let up in this part of the city.
By the time I reached the park, my brain was quieting down. I let Howie off the leash to run, and we climbed the rocky trail to the top of the hill. On sunny days, the view takes in nearly the whole of the city below. Downtown is a garden of skyscrapers, and the highways that snarl traffic near the bridge seem more like ant trails. The bay glitters, tankers wait to dock in the port in Oakland, a mountain rises in the distance, overlooking it all.
Today a thick fog blankets us, and the leftover blue of night gave the tumble of the city’s hillside homes the appearance of a coral reef. I walked slowly, as if underwater, with the push of the wind against my back. Except for the whistle of air through the cypress trees, the park and the city were silent. I tried to think about what I would write in that perfect, uninterrupted span of time between my return to the house and the start of the day’s activity. I tried not to think about how short that period of time is (an hour?) and how it might be my favorite part of the whole week, because it is when I write. I tried to think about an essay and a story that I’ve left behind since I started working, but I could no longer call them up in my mind. I missed them. I missed writing.
But as I walked I let those things go. I thought about the strange aqua tint of the fog, and the wind’s insistence, and how I could not see the tall buildings that rose below, even though they were still there all the same.