I wake up early, 4:30am, seven days per week. Even on days when sleeping in is an option, I’m already active at something while roosters still snore. Though I’m up before the sun, and before most humans in my proximity, I don’t fully come to life until mid-morning. My days must be eased into.
There is a gentleness to the marine layer which ushers in so many Fallbrook mornings between late autumn and early summer. This grey, soupy sky sets up a transitional mood for those like me who rise early, but wake up slowly. Though I appreciate the sun, I don’t want to see it much before noon. In Fallbrook, I don’t have to for much of the year.
The marine layer – this low cloud deck, is the result of warm air gathering moisture as it travels distance across the Pacific Ocean. It eventually runs into land on the pacific coast, where it stands up and throws itself forward against the coastline, stretching out for miles over all human happenings in the form low clouds and fog. Providing moisture to the air, and filtering out the sun’s harsh rays, the marine layer keeps the early mornings cool and makes waking early much more tolerable.
The marine layer also serves as an acoustic barrier, holding down the sounds on the ground and allowing them to resonate broadly. Whether they are the sounds of nature, or those made by man, the sounds of the morning are crisp, even from a distance. When a newspaper lands on the sidewalk of the house 3 doors down, it sounds as though it hits my own porch. Roosters in my neighbor’s back yard sound like they are in my kitchen. What few voices I hear at 5:00am are conversations between day workers exchanging greetings in the parking lot at the 7-11, 2 blocks away.
Despite distant noises sounding so close, or perhaps because of it, there is a peacefulness to all of this that blankets my soul. Over a few hours of time, before and after the sun rises, I will sip coffee, write, exercise, and prep my day, all under the influence of grey skies. I will eventually wake and walk the dog, water the garden, groom the driveway, and rake a few fallen leaves from the loquat tree, all the while feeling a peace provided by fog.
Eventually my workday begins, but it doesn’t feel like work at all. As I train and chat with my early morning clients, I appreciate that I get to do this with mother nature’s morning mood acting in a supporting role.
By late morning the blanket of clouds overhead begins to separate from itself. Small sections of blue sky appear. By contrast, this blue appears fresh, as though the sky has just been born. The sun lights up the sides of the clouds, and what had been grey just moments before, becomes the brightest white I’ll see all day. Art takes place in slow motion. As this happens I sing silently to myself a single line of, here comes the sun, though the client I am with has no idea I do this. It’s okay now, I think to myself, time to wake up in earnest. Not only am I awake, but I am alive. Let the day begin.
No marine layer today, nor tomorrow. As summer continues its war on spring, what had been an insurgency of an occasional hot morning in-between the cool ones, has expanded into a fully hot week, to be followed by a fully hot month, and so-on.
The marine layer will give way to summer, and the sun’s claim as god of the season will be undeniable. The cool damp air will return in the fall, and will likely drop in a time or two as summer weather patterns change, offering a reminder of what I appreciate most about living in this region. As the cosmic dance of the seasons waxes and wanes, it strikes a necessary balance in my life, and with my soul. I appreciate the marine layer most of all, because it goes away, and that’s how life is… Be well. rc
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