The morning sky is falling into place.
It takes shape a layer at a time. A layer of purple, a layer of blue, a layer of orange. A layer of pink is thrown somewhat unevenly across the top. Peering at it from my 19th-story perch, it’s as if even the sky is amassing blankets (albeit mismatched, multicolored ones) to brave the brisk pre-dawn air.
I got an interesting perspective on the arrival of daybreak, hiking in from the Landing. When I hike in from that train stop, I am practically ON the river. The walk in leads me up an ascending hill that runs parallel to the Arch (and that makes my heart pound by the time I crest the top.) It takes me past one of the best preserved streets in downtown St. Louis. (Fourth Street, from Washington to Pine.) Well, one half of it anyway. Except for a modern-day parking garage interrupting at Olive, the half of the street that I must cross to looks almost exactly as it has since the 1920s. (And even then, some of its occupant edifices were already in middle age!)
The combined view of nature and historic architecture (and a sudden blast of wind in the 40-degree air) provide a better jolt than the tallest cup of caffeine. I am awake, aware and alive. Even briefly, it feels good to be in my shoes. (Especially since they are my black patent leather loafers that I have affectionately dubbed my “cop shoes.” They are far from the most stylish of my footwear but are among my favorites. An affable, though not always tactful, colleague once asked me if I’d been in the military since my shoes were so shiny.)
As I go to claim my coffee, Josh, the foreign-born clerk, is dutifully reading the morning paper aloud. As I shell out my money, he gets a serious look on his face. “Let me ask you something,” he begins. “If there is to be a cold front, should the temperature not be cold? Yet they say the temperature will be in the 70s.”
I don’t have a degree in meteorology but I do my best to convey a reasonable facsimile of what I heard the weatherman say last night: the front is supposed to move through rather quickly, being pushed out by warmer air. This seems to sate Josh’s current quest for knowledge.
And so, armed with coffee, I am off to pursue my own.