I start each day very early in the morning – usually between 3:30 am and 4:30 am. As I age, my sleep patterns and circadian rhythms have changed. However, the morning hours are my delight. While it is still dark, I read and write, as my head is clearest then. By the time I perceive through my home office-window looking towards the east the silhouette of the trees emerging from the darkness against a lightening sky, I prepare to go out, rain or shine, for a 3 to 5 mile walk in my neighborhood.

We live in the foothills of Sherman Oaks, a suburb in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, on a small street without sidewalks that feels more like a country road than a city street. We love it here. We bought this modest home at the beginning of 1989, raised our sons here, and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

While on these morning walks, often while it is still dark, I listen to podcasts or music or I simply enjoy the silence. Ours is a very quiet neighborhood. We can hear sometimes in the distance the Amtrak trains signaling their coming into a station, church bells ringing on the hour, the muffled din of traffic on the 101 a mile or two away, mockingbirds singing mating calls in springtime in our backyard trees, owls cooing, and the loud caws of crows. A flock of crows (called a “murder”) lives here year-round and, apparently, loves our neighborhood as we do. At the top of a tall pine tree two doors from our home, during the spring and summer, there sits often a hawk disturbed from time to time during the nesting season by small black birds swinging around him and squawking as they nose-dive towards the hawk on his perch without there seemingly being any effect at all upon the larger bird that sits so regally and still.

I pass the same people and their dogs most mornings, and though I know no one’s name, we wave to each other in friendly recognition. They are all part of the beginning of my day.

I often witness on these hour+ long walks spectacular moon and sun risings. The colors in the early morning sky of bright red, magenta, and orange play themselves off streaking clouds over rain-soaked streets (of late) yet to evaporate with the progression of the day.

When I see a breath-taking image, I take a photograph. Today, I offer some of those images from the last year that I was fortunate to record at the right moment, as many of them vanished within seconds of their appearance. They represent the quiet radiance and calm of the morning’s light.

A joyful, healthy, and peaceful New Year to you all.