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.