An antidote for the sweltering Dallas heat presents itself at 6AM every morning.  Even though eighty degree heat clutches at me as I walk the bicycle out to the street, in only the time it takes to crank through the gears my airstream becomes a steady breeze that chases it away.

1930’s Boat house on White Rock Lake

All across East Dallas a blanket of air chilled by lawn sprinklers hugs the ground beneath the shade of 90-year-old trees.

The route is a time machine that begins in the 1930’s and reaches backward for 50 more years:  Greenland Hills… Vickery Place… Lower Greenville… Swiss Avenue… Junius Heights.  Then it follows the paved Santa Fe Trail until it emerges from the trees at the old art deco public boathouse to reveal White Rock Lake brightening in faintest dawn.

Much of the route is well sheltered by overhanging trees, but nearly half of it circles the lake.  Ducks and geese are beginning to stir along the shoreline, die-hard fishermen are casting lines, and on occasion a lone oarsman pushes a scull through the water ahead of a solitary wake.

Fishermen at dawn on White Rock Lake

These summer doldrums beg for a cooling breeze to skate across the water, but even when the lake is becalmed and glassy the mere sight of so much water seems to refresh.

The rising sun finally catches the brightly colored sailboats bobbing at anchor around the marina and beyond them the downtown Dallas skyline glows a shade of  rose.

Not much further down the trail the cultural center which now occupies the 1930’s bath house is still hours away from opening.  Below the dam the spillway carries only a trickle of water, its parched stone terraces looking like some fairytale giant’s staircase.

The sun arcs toward another 100-plus-degree day, but I arrive home to begin the day thoroughly chilled out by my sunrise excursion.