Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Workouts in Nature’s Gym

There’s a rocky stair-stepper at the north end of the beach. It’s textured with desert flowers this week and so fragrant that my sneakers are camp air fresheners after a climb. An enthusiasm of grasshoppers explodes ahead of each step. Trailside spiders dine on a vast menu of colorful critters trapped out of air.

At sunrise, between the fresh light on the western mountains and the blossoming glow over the eastern islands, the view from the top is not bad.

There’s a lap pool at my front door. Laps as long as you want. If you don’t mind a few turns, you could lap the world from here. Instead of lane lines painted on the bottom, there are fish to follow, so laps don’t run too straight.

For the paddlesports enthusiast, there are some opportunities too. Here I go on one now. Around Danzante Island before Brunch. Eleven nautical miles, with sunrise on the big screen for my workout entertainment.

Opening scene, starlight with a touch of moon. Glowing specks swirl in the water around each paddle stroke. Reflected moonlight? Fallen stars? Or agitated microscopic sea creatures. The drama of dawn steals the show. Even before the sun walks onto the scene, it reaches up to pinch the bottoms of a few passing clouds, and they blush a gaudy pink. To the west, the sheer craggy wall of mountains reddens in voyeuristic excitement. Gulls laugh from their rocky roosts, and small rays do jumping jacks, popping out of the water to wave their wings before they fall back down.

When the sun sits red on the horizon, the shadow of a paddler follows me along the dappled cliffs of Danzante island. A workout partner for just a moment.