Monday, January 28, 2013

Time Travel

Block Island, 2007

If I could travel through time I'd hop back into the day shown above, an autumn day on Block Island.  San Francisco just isn't doing it for me today.  I want some space.  I want some quiet.  I want some fresh and smoke-free air.

growl (definition #2)

This too shall pass...  I hope, or I might need a dose of Enchanted April.  Maybe some barbeque potato chips.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crossing the Bridge

Golden Gate, 2012

What are you up to this weekend?

I don't have specific plans, but I know I'll be crossing the bridge.  I know I'll be looking out over the ocean toward the horizon.  I'll be smelling sea air.

First, the simple perception of natural forms is a delight. The influence of the forms and actions in nature, is so needful to man, that, in its lowest functions, it seems to lie on the confines of commodity and beauty. To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In their eternal calm, he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson from Nature, published as part of Nature; Addresses and Lectures 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why I Read

January Reading, 2013

Although Marie Chaix is breaking my heart with her novel, Silences, or a Woman's Life, she also has me reflecting on myself and my relationship with my own mother.  There is work involved in reading these words as well as there is deep satisfaction in the beauty of such well articulated emotions.  As I turn these pages and sink further into her story I begin to see my world through her lens.  I feel the shift in perspective that increases my ability to understand others.  It is why I read.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Real California

I stumbled upon the real California.

Yes, I live in San Francisco, but it's different.  It is a great place, but it is not the California I dreamed of when I was in my teens, the California I hoped to make my home one day.

The discrepancy between San Francisco and my original vision of California is so vast, for years after moving to San Francisco it had me slipping up and telling people any trip I made to Southern California was a trip to California, as if I wasn't aware I already resided in the state.

The land of tiny pastel beach cottages standing shoulder to shoulder, so close, packed tight like tinned sardines, was what I originally imagined, and recently found.  I found the California where surfers ride their bicycles barefoot while toting their boards, low key neighborhood spots crank out spectacular fish tacos, and cramped little cafes with mismatched mugs serve buckwheat pancakes.  A place where you can walk beside the ocean for miles, even at night along a well-lit pedestrian path, no cars, the only wheels are on cruisers meandering past, locals resting their rumps on fat seats.

In the midst of family visits, gift giving, monopoly, and ginger pudding, I snuck off early one morning and took my cafĂ© au lait to the beach.  I headed toward the first lifeguard watch tower I spotted, climbed up the ladder, and sat on a shallow deck surrounding a small empty hut, wrapped my arms around my knees, and watched an array of wetsuit clad men of all shapes and sizes arrive, stretch, surf, and head home.

I became transfixed by the scene and decided to settle in for a while.  The sun was bright and sharp, but it was winter sun and there was a definite chill in the air.  I was scooting around the side of the hut, positioning myself so I could shield just my face from the sun while keeping my legs and feet beneath its warmth, when one of the wetsuit clad leaned his board against a leg of the tower beneath me and began to stretch.  I looked down.
He nodded and said "I'm mentally preparing to freeze."  
I responded with a grin and "I'll feel sorry for you when you surf Bolinas in December"
"Where's that?" he asked.
"Just north of San Francisco" I said.
"Oh…brrr…and sharks too" he said as he walked toward the waves, with his long curly sun streaked hair, appreciating his length of beach just a little more.

I wanted to be out there, duck diving, getting tossed around by the white water, and maybe even popping up a time or two.  The rush of adrenaline I'd experienced just one time before, I wanted it again.  I started pondering how good I might be if I'd started in my teens or 20s.  And why didn't I?  I have good balance.

Regret is useless unless you use it to move forward.  Both the waves and I are still here.  Mastery might be a little far fetched, but the rush, the one you feel with your entire being, I think it's still out there waiting for me.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Amongst the Cypress, 2012

I desperately wanted to see her, but her story was not available in our country, nor was it for sale.  So I let someone find it for me.  His means were questionable.  It was a long process.  We waited.  And then devoured it greedily.  I knew I was not innocent, but I was completely satisfied. 

Desperado by the The Eagles

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The Yellow Light on 29th Street, 2012

My word for 2013 is pause.  I simply want to step back more often and notice what is around me, consider the choices I make, the way I spend my days.

And you?