Friday, September 15, 2006

Have Eyes, Will Travel

Is it possible to become indifferent to beauty? Even worse, does familiarity breed contempt? I hope not.

The city was posing for postcards today. We rode our bicycles up and down hills by the bay, marveling at the many views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sailboats in gorgeous colors dotted the deep blue-green water and gulls soared and dipped, scanning for fish and generous tourists with food scraps.

We always bring them bread, more for the pleasure of seeing them catch large crumbs in mid-air than for charity. Seagulls are not polite birds; they lack the most rudimentary concept of sharing, but I admire them for their colossal survival skills and the breathtaking beauty of their flight.

I've been watching several patches of ripening wild blackberries for weeks, and my vigilance was finally rewarded. I have the scratches to prove it.

The Community Gardens were bursting with flowers, fruits and vegetables. I made friends with other peoples' dahlias, purple beans and giant sunflowers as well as tomatoes, nasturtiums, late-blooming wisteria and small green apples. This wondrous place offers plots of various sizes but demands proof of ones devotion by way of a 5-year waiting list. We come here often to admire and meditate, to inhale and exhale in exquisite surroundings.

My other favorite hangout, the Friends of the Library Book Bay, had changed their New Arrivals shelves since my last recent visit and I found a couple of goodies. Since I ride my bike in my oldest, rattiest jeans and sport road dust and helmet hair, I'm sure the volunteers think I'm a literate bag lady who bathes.

We're expecting El Nino soon, a yearly phenomenon, more or less, which brings fierce winds and heavy rains from Mexico. So far, we're batting 500 as it's not raining, but we had a powerful tailwind going one way and a headwind that required very low gear and the promise of hot chocolate to get home.

Such exercise is great in retrospect, the kind of thing you sometimes enjoy having done more than the doing itself. I feel tired and virtuous and swollen with all the beautiful sights I ingested. (And the berries.) I am rebuilding myself, a scene at a time. I had to come home. I couldn't hold any more splendor today.

I fear becoming jaded and taking life's wonders for granted. It would be awful to reach some point of diminishing returns and be unable to appreciate all this anymore. Beauty nourishes and sustains me.

"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."


Lex said...

"Beauty nourishes and sustains me." I absolutely concur.

In my journey of rethinking my core beliefs, beauty and nature (if the two can be separated) absolutely sustain me. Everytime I am tempted to believe that life is but chance, beauty calls me back to my senses.

Nature/Beauty is the only thing that convinces me of God. All the rest, speculation.

These photos are breath-taking.

Thanks for the nature walk. A perfect end to this week.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have come to believe that we do indeed live in an orderly universe. This worldview requires giving up ones notions of specialness and embracing the even better idea that we are all part of the same energy.

Nearly every Native American language has a phrase for "We are all related." What, really, could be more beautiful than this? When we hurt another, we also hurt ourselves because any division between us is an illusion.

I don't think that God is a bearded old man on a throne. I think that everything in the natural world is a part of God, and is therefore beautiful.

I hope I still feel this way tomorrow. :)

Michael C said...

I just got back from Sea World in San Diego and it too was a postcard type of day. Just walking through the sea-water aquariums is reminder enough for me of the beauty of life.

It was the widest array of colors I've ever seen!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I lived in San Diego before we moved up here. Such a beautiful area.

I didn't see any porpoises today, but I'm sure you did!

kim said...

I always enjoy your blog so much ... theres such a mixture of topics and your insights are truly priceless :) I so love San Francisco for all the reasons you listed and more. Its a wonderous place .. I dont get there enough

I was just out surfing and catching up ...finally settled in a little bit and feeling like ive been missing out on all my blog buddies lives

Thanks for the lovely comment you left me on my blog about my friend... it was very sweet and touching and i think i will take your advice and drop her a card every once in awhile and leave it at that ... thanks again *hugs*

kim said...

anddd evidently i put your link on my page and didnt do it right ..
ill be fixin that soon lol

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hi Kim,

Thank you so much for the lovely things you said. I feel the same way about you and your blog. I always find that I'm thinking about your posts after I've gone off to do something else.

About the mix of topics -- it took me a long time to create a blog because I thought it should have a theme, but with urging from my daughter and my own love of writing, I just decided to post whatever came to mind at the time. It's so much easier that way!

I have no doubt that your friend wishes she were dead instead of her daughter, so it will take a very long time for her to come to grips with what happened. I'm so very sorry for all of you..

Odat said...

Nature inspires me's my food and my religion.....Nice post..thanks!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm not surprised.

I've always balked at the idea that God is found only in certain buildings when there is so much evidence to the contrary right outside our doors.

katrice said...

I think He's all around, trying to get our attention with colors and whispering to us in the wind. It's our job to notice and appreciate and interact.

Nature... what a stress reliever!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Absolutely! A day at the ocean or in the woods does wonders for my soul. And keeps me sane. (Although there are those who would dispute that, perhaps.)

d~ said...

I love the ocean. I love trees and greenery. I love streams and creeks and rivers. I love frozen tundra, rain and mud. I love just about every climate except the desert -- where I live.

I tell myself that the desert isn't ugly and I'm learning, slowly, to believe it. I still don't care for the panorama, but if I look at it plant by plant, I can find something beautiful in each plant.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Plant by plant is sometimes all we have.

I thnk the desert colors are beautiful, especially Arizona's pink boulders. Cactus plants fascinate me and I admire their survival skills. I think I could live in any kind of topography and find something to love, but my absolute favorite place is near the ocean.

I'm glad you came back, d~. I've missed you.