Thursday, August 7, 2008

Facing East

When the sun comes up there is no hiding from it. Its insistently bright, strong rays flood every crack of every room, and the deck is no exception.

It has been a short night. Despair took several forms - a lonely couch stowed in the dirt under the concrete overhang of the pool above, open to the wild canyon. A wolf-like wild dog whose breath awakened me but passed me by before I could even glimpse his tail. A bed on wooden slabs. Memories of a worse evening - in a different time, in a different place, much colder and more shocking to the senses.

But even the smallest amount of sleep causes the weariness of the heart to fade. Faithful watchdog Debbie comes by to protect me from the unseen canyon interloper, and upon moving to the deck in the early hours my old, most faithful Los Angeles friend creeps, curling up next to me and purring.

Everything is a reminder of where I am. Beautiful shades just before dawn broken up by an anonymous swimmer's curved arm and a quiet splashing of water. The swimmer looks somewhat small, their skin overcast by the slowly rising sun behind them. Is it Charlie, that crazy kid? Swimming at 6:15 am? Eventually I realize that the methodical laps could only be those of Liz, a friend, renter, and med student, devotedly exercising before returning to school for the morning.

The morning is peaceful, only the slight sounds of air, bugs, birds, and a man-made stream. A police helicopter flies loudly, low overhead, passing the top of the mountain slowly - reminding me that I was right not to walk home last night. I open my eyes occasionally and see the large meditation tree, reaching up beautifully into the morning sky, some branches dead, others waving with the life. This is the tree I have enjoyed looking up at from the deck and the pool when idling, thinking about life. Soon, the whine of a not-too-distant drill shoots up from the canyon . And a fly buzzes around me, landing on the sweaty, dirty clothes that I'm still wearing from the night before, capoeira cordao spilling out of my blanket.

And the sun shines warmer. Sleep still beckons, but my blankets have become a burden. I must get up. In a house that faces east, I must get up.

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