I knew from the ambient light setting the wood floors aglow that I was running late. My aim a healthy two wheeled sprint to Montrose beach to catch the places unique angle upon sunrise. Optimo at my right, backpack tightened, gloves on...its through the door and down the steps and then legs thicken with the glory of work.
Belmont Avenue abandoned save a single bus lumbering eastward with an ease reserved for the first morning hours. Sidewalks marked only by the disciplined early starters and the stumbling out all nighters. I pass through Clark and Belmont like I would a section of rural two lane. No need to stop. The Chi still borders on the entirely dreaming.
The thin strip of land between lakeshore and Belmont Harbor packed enough with soil and green organics to impart the coolish air a sweetly thick note when combined with the much needed moisture just yesterday borrowed by the land.
I startle a blind man led onto the path by his canine guide. "Sorry" I yell. My chain nips the derailleur for a few links each turn. I need to fix that. I thought he heard.
Montrose and I wind east. I aim for a gap between a stand of trees, hasten my cadence and burst into the field that bends like a lip up to Montrose Hill. A churning push to the top, a few deep breaths and then down bumping over the uneven field.
The beach is bordered by a final urban effect. A long rough stone wall that dips in two large three foot steps. Only breaks in the stone serve as de facto ergonomic access.
Optimo on my right shoulder I follow the fence line born of municipal distinction between dog and human lakefront. The sand has been freshly combed in loops and lines. The waters edge specially groomed neatly like a long bowed floor plate with clean lines and mechanical angles all moist and fresh.
A lady in the range of 65, braces on her teeth, is walking quickly in a windbreaker south. She blurts out, "ya' here to take pictures?" I respond in the affirmative. "Then you better turn around knucklehead cause your missing it! It just popped up and you missed it. You better start to hustle!" Good advice, I think.
The sun was alone with it's color. No clouds to play companion. The gulls more than obliging. Some fly with real and flattened out intent. Others let the wind push and toss them with only bare animal control. I'm tempted to yell the old ladies advice to a gull caught in a current up and to the right. "Turn around knucklehead, that gull behind you is on to something! Hustle!"
As I leave, a gaggle of older ladies (friends of the advice giver) gather at the foot of a lifeguard stand marking the northern territorial limit of the municipally dedicated human lakefront beach at Montrose. A teen couple slouch dejectedly across the beach. They had been nested quietly in the stand. The older ladies and their collected pack of miniature poodles, schnauzers and terriers sniffing, yipping, twirling and twisting have dampened the mood enjoyed by dreamy youth.
The path now populated by toe separating minimalist footwear and pannier sporting commuters heading loopward. Belmont suddenly blocked for a section by a machine stripping the face from a just calm and cool intersection. The city shaking awake to a new daily hustle.
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