Friday, December 23, 2011

Ten Reasons to Slow Down

  1. It's 7 a.m. and you are running late for work. You stop at a red light with one car ahead of you. There are no other cars around. The driver, a young man, leans across the console to kiss his passenger. They are deep into the kiss as the light turns green. Do you honk?
  2. On a crowded street, you're behind an old, deflated man. Others are coming toward you, in a rush like you. You calculate that to pass him and keep your pace you will have to squeeze by him sideways. Instead, you brake and slow to his pace.
  3. They call you in for a second mammogram. That night, you walk slower to feel the warm breeze on your face and watch moonlight shatter across the water. The image proves to be clear.
  4. A young, shell-shocked father carries a six-week-old baby on his chest. He shows you the sleeping baby's face and tells you she is a twin.
  5. Your best friend's husband dies of cancer. You spend a week with her after the funeral to help her sort out his things. You don't sort through a single box, but do take long walks on the beach and listen as she tells you that grief runs deep.
  6. "It's hard to articulate the silence," says your husband, a welder who, again, surprises you with his eloquence.
  7. Wet hair waits for a brush as the sun pours through the stained glass window. A poem insists on being written.
  8. Young and black in Vallejo. Skirts way too short, a cigarette dangling out of 14-year-old lips. Shaking their booties when they win the pink, stuffed tiger that they cuddle in their arms. Little girls running too fast towards adulthood.
  9.  Cancer again, this time in someone you love. Treatable, but still the wake-up call of cancer.
  10. Admiring a drop of dew on a nasturtium leaf, your friend offers it to you and the drop slides into your mouth.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dawn at the Golden Gate

Last night I attended a sold out screening of Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 6 at San Francisco's Castro Theatre. Film archivist Prelinger splices home movies, outtakes from films, and early ads to highlight San Francisco's cultural and natural past. A flash of last night's footage showed a Golden Gate without a bridge.

This morning, I walked the Golden Gate Bridge at first light and watched the sun bust through today's skyline. The commuters, the joggers, and the industrious cyclists reminded me of a line from The Annals of San Francisco in 1855, "[there was] no sauntering, no idleness, no dreaming. All was practical and real; all energy, perseverance and success. In business and in pleasure, the San Franciscans were fast folk: none were faster in the world."

I resisted any practical and real energy this morning. The city flamed against the sunrise, a match lit, and I was walking on water thanks to the industriousness of those who designed and built this bridge. The bridge turns 75 in May 2012.