Peyton, King, Bay, High, Heller, McLaughlin (11/22/2021)

Warm, gold, and shadows. Air so evenly warmed, that it isn’t even there. The car is cool. Five dribbled, dry, milky residues spot the windshield, one has a white petal stuck to it. I turn on Gregory Porter because he is the warm sunlight and the daylight is here with us. A young Asian helmeted man riding a bike towards us along King signals with his left arm, bent at the elbow and upwards, that he will be turning to his right. I remember that in Holland, bikers simply point with whichever hand, in whichever direction they will be turning. Five seconds remain before the light turns and I make a right turn. A biker is struggling up the incline and I feel pity for him. He is moving so slowly. This stretch of road does not permit any speeds above 30 miles per hour and today I respect this, cruising just around 28. No one is behind us. Here the eucalyptus trees hold back the day, but only until the South Entrance to campus—it’s a crescendo of komorebi gold after this point. We wait for our left turn arrow behind a young helmeted child wearing an electric blue fleece jacket riding a bike that matches who drops a mask that matches as he adjusts his grip. I wonder if someone will help him when he arrives at his destination. Komorebi, but it’s annoying and the road is busier than usual today. I smile coming up that same bend on Heller and I remember that it must be because there’s often a family of deer that graze on the field to the left. Today, there is no family of deer, just a sparse new bed of small orange flowers. Many of the trees are losing their leaves now. Others are dropping off their housemates and loved ones, too.

I put on meenoi who makes me laugh. The fire danger is low today, the soil is damp still, and green grass grows anew. The sun rays over the hill wash the grass at the just the right elevation and so the grass fluoresces. Wide streaks of the ocean are the same color as the mostly clear sky today. The horizon is uninspiring and the sea is shifting. There are two police vehicles coming up the hill, separated by one car. There are two cars waiting ahead of me at Bay and King in the left turn lane. Today the streets are busy with cars.

When Peyton is dark, I see lacey yellow squares along the block. The homes blend together in the darkness, one long block perforated with yellow lace, but I can remember the colors and ornaments of these homes. I can see TVs with the news on and lamps and chairs. When King is dark, this could be anywhere and it’s not interesting. When Bay is dark, it’s too dark to be interesting. I wonder what the night sky might look like above. When High is dark, I’m blinded by oncoming traffic, in pairs of whites, bluish-whites, and blinding yellows. I don’t smile around the bend when it’s dark, because there is only the cold blue light of the lamps. The bus stops look like small barns with their soft yellow lights. I see a young man who is oddly enough dressed in such a way that he looks like a security guard. He’s posting a flyer by stapling it onto the notice board at the bus stop. It’s a paper with graphics on it with a bright aqua blue. When the thicket of redwoods is dark, it’s beautiful, hushed. Two students are speaking with one another from opposite ends of a pedestrian crossing. I stop and they go their separate ways. The one to the right is wildly brandishing his umbrella like a Jedi knight. I wonder why he brought his umbrella on a day that was as golden and clear as today. There aren’t as many others waiting near the drop off.

I see the man dressed like security at another bus stop, posting his flyer. Two other students are near him and all three look to be in conversation. I look towards the ocean and I am surprised to see a string of orange and white lights tracing the horizon. A car pulls forward a little too far into the road before us and I brake hard. Blinding headlights again. Some homes do not have lace-adorned windows and I see dinner plates stacked in a kitchen of the one home I always like to see in the dark of night: there are two beautifully lit, lazy wooden chairs to either side of its front door, spaced almost too far apart, and almost certainly never used.

Peyton, King, Bay, High, Heller, McLaughlin (11/20/21)

Not as pleasant, the cold and dew. The cold slips beneath my buttoned jacket. The car is cold and damp. Condensation covers the rear window, but the windshield is clear and I wonder why. Monk is playing, but I switch to Ibrahim, I want to feel happier. A woman walks two samoyed dogs and this is the first time I see them; she is wearing shorts and I wonder if she is cold. The dogs are impatient, but not because of the cold, of that I’m sure; the woman looks tired of things. King and Bay: I can never tell what’s happening, I think to myself, but the light turns green and I ease into a right turn. I’m glad construction is finished, both lanes are open, but I never used the one that was closed anyway, but it looks cleaner. The air feels fresh now. A young woman is wearing many layers and has her sweat pants tucked into very clean, leather work boots; she is going to class and she looks ready, but in no hurry. I smile as I come around the bend before the bus stops along Heller. I forget why, but it wasn’t because of anything funny. I roll down the windows past the thickest part of the redwood grove. It’s too cold, so I pull them back up about 12 seconds later. I don’t know what it was, but something that looked like a very small, chrome-plated hub cap, comes rolling across the path and I have to stop. Is it a sign? I think to myself. I begin to worry that it is a bad sign, an omen. I want to be happy this morning. I drive slightly to the right of the metal plates, so that it doesn’t make such a loud noise. There are 324 parking spots left in Core West Parking and I guess that means I might find a good spot. I find a great spot and wait for a car behind me to pass, but it doesn’t pass. I back into the spot quickly and accurately, and I feel proud of the feat for a minute.

It gets darker quickly now and there aren’t very many lights in the area, just yellowish windows against a dark of redwoods, mostly. Coming over the hill, the sun is still setting, so I drive a bit faster to see if I can see the ocean coming down the hill. I see it and it’s less beautiful than the sky and the clouds today. I think about emails. The light turns green, but I wait for a young man in shorts to cross first before I make the turn; he looks cautiously and continues with a relaxed gait. It was relaxed and natural, so odd. I was the third car to line up in the left turn lane onto King, which does not happen often. At the corner, I see the young woman and her two samoyeds again; she doesn’t look cold, but she looks tired still and I wonder what she did today. It’s darker and the speed bumps come with the bounce of headlights in the rearview mirror and I wonder if my lights are blinding the driver in front of me, too. I wonder what color my headlights are as one passes me with the bright, slender headlights that might have just been daytime running lights. A small dog in a parka leads its owners across the street and I think of my family dog, Sarang, who passed a few years ago. Peyton is so dark at night.