These birds had a lot to say. I couldn’t understand them as they were speaking all at once, but they were loud and they were glorious and I couldn’t get enough of them.
San Francisco, California / The Early Aughts
I have a fondness for taking pictures of this church. These four pictures taken on different days at different times in different weather between December 2020 and January 2021. I think it’s this whole corner that I like because to the immediate left of this church is this tree which I also take pictures of. This particular walk that I go on is about 3.5 miles long and sometimes it starts out being a bit of a struggle but by the time I get to this corner which is about a third of the way through I’ve hit my stride. It’s a marker and so I guess I like to document it to remember that no matter how much I think I’d rather stay home and lay about it’s always better to get out and be among the trees.
These photos were taken around noon. In layman’s terms, the orange sky was caused when smoke from the surrounding fires – that had been burning for weeks – rose so high into the atmosphere that it blocked the sun. What I remember most about this day is that for days upon days the air quality was so bad that we couldn’t even go outside. But on this day the air quality was good. It didn’t smell like smoke and the air actually seemed fresh, as if the sky were blue. But it wasn’t blue. It was far from blue. Right before I took these pictures it was almost as dark as night. And I wondered if we would ever see blue skies again.
I don’t know what 2021 holds and I’m realistic enough to know that all the problems won’t go away with the turn of a page on a calendar. I have spent most of the year split between a feeling of dread and a feeling of hope. That’s not healthy. There has to be a point when things start to get better. I hope 2021 is that point. And to you 2020 – goodbye to you – you piece of crap year.
Afternoon walk back in November. The days are getting to be faster than they are slower. Time is shifting. A week no longer takes a month. A day no longer a week.
Photos from a walk last week.
Grey skies. Gloomy weather. Yesterday it rained. Not a lot, more like a heavy drizzle if even that. Not enough to use the windshield wipers while driving, only enough to wipe the drops off in between errands. It was watch a movie weather. Curl up on the couch with a good book weather. If I had a fireplace, make a fire kind of weather. Today the weather is sort of like yesterday but it feels different. I don’t know what it was but yesterday felt good. Like some kind of bridge from what was to what can be. Maybe it’s because I didn’t spend hours on Twitter soaking up bad news like a dirty sponge. There is a peace of mind in that, that I want to hold on to. But then this morning I forgot myself and let go. Maybe that’s the difference. It’s a constant roller coaster ride of wanting to be informed and wanting to curl up inside my own little bubble.
Anyway, here’s a song I listened to ten times in a row as one does.
San Francisco, California
Alviso, California / November 2020
Stopped off at Alviso yesterday for a little walk before I went to Target to grab the last of the toilet paper and whatever else I could find ( I heard people were starting to hoard again and last time around I suffered from my lack of action *). I wanted to walk the trail along the shore but it was closed, so I puttered around the parking lot and walked down the block to this building (above) where I have been a few times before and took some photos.
I have taken a few pictures of this place over the years and I’m very bad at organizing my photos so I don’t know where most of them are, but I ran across these ones below, from 2009, on my flickr account and wow what a difference. I mean I already knew that, I have eyes and all. I could see that the murals were fading and the building was falling apart but I didn’t realize to the extent that it was. Someday this building will be gone, but I think I say that every time I am there and still it stands.
Also these last three from 2009 were taken with a film camera which lends a sense of awe.
I also wanted to get a photo of the building next to it which is another cool building that was sadly even further gone than the one above (there was also a guy there that was watching me behind all the signs that said “Private Property” and “No Trespassing”). It had a cool Hope sign on it that I wanted to take yet another photo of, but alas it gone. Taken down. This photo (below ) is what it looked like in 2009.
Oops sorry. It said “Hope St” not just “Hope”.
* turns out grabbing the last bit of toilet paper isn’t that important to me because I never made it to Target. People want to be assholes and hoard stuff, let them. Whoa, that’s a little aggressive there sweetie.
And while I have your attention, if you haven’t already voted, Please vote. What? You thought you would get away without a mention of voting? It’s November 3rd. You crazy.
Taken sometime in The Before*
* I read somewhere ( I think on Reddit ) someone referring to the time previous to Coronavirus as The Before. I’m going to adopt that.
Things seen on my walk yesterday.
And the obligatory I can’t believe it’s November.
But I really can’t.
Sawyer Camp Trail / October 2020
Sawyer Camp Trail – October 2020
I love it when I see random stuff on my walks. This calendar was on top of a bush.
And this take out menus book? Not even sure what that is. Is it some sort of binder for take out menus? I suppose I could have looked inside but I was carrying a bag of sushi and fried chicken and cake and eager to get home… and look! A newspaper! Not so random.
Free books! They never have anything I want but I always get excited just the same.
And look! Another newspaper! I love newspapers. I went to Books Inc. this past weekend and bought a couple of Sunday papers. I haven’t been inside a store other than grocery stores or Target since March… I was in a bank once. Working my way up to the Farmers Market. Not really a store – but still crowded.
(That’s one weird paragraph.)
Trees of green and the things they protect.
I have lived in this area for a little over 16 years. I only meant to live here for six months. That was the plan. God. Plans. Insert laughter. Next month at this time I will be vacuuming the carpet for the last time, dropping my key off at the manager’s apartment and driving a hundred miles north to start a new chapter. It’s a move up in more ways than one although in these uncertain times I’m not sure for how long. But it will give me a chance to take a deep breath while I figure out the rest. So in between packing and taking care of things and finding a mover and letting go and moving on I hope to get a little more walking in especially to places I haven’t normally gone. During these past six months I’m learning to take one day at a time and I think I’m getting better at it. Taking pleasure in simple things. Washing dishes. Making tea. Throwing a three day worn shirt into the hamper. Learning Japanese. Putting on music. Opening the window to fresh air. Blue skies.
Especially blue skies.
Please ignore the dust spots.
What dust spots?
Yeah. Like that. Very good.
High up in an apartment block in Toronto, Viggo Mortensen was padding around barefoot, cleaning up the kitchen after lunch and speaking, in his soft-voiced way, about his longing for immortality. “I’m not afraid of death,” he said, wiping down a counter with a damp cloth, “but I resent it. I think it’s unfair and irritating. Every time I see something beautiful, I not only want to return to it, but it makes me want to see other beautiful things. I know I’m not going to get to all the places I want to go. I’m not going to read all the books I want to read. I’m not going to revisit certain paintings as many times as I would like. There’s a limit.” He paused. “I mean, I understand limits are good for character and all that, but I would rather live forever.”
Some things stay with you. I have gone past the age when I realize I will never have time to read all the books I want to read. That I will never see enough sunsets to fill my heart. That I will never accomplish the things I wanted to. Laziness. Lack of courage. Fear. But I don’t want to live forever either. The time we have is the time we have. You start from where you are is what they say. I mean, where else are you going to start?
I’m not sure where I’m going here except that last evening I got my butt up and drove to the lake near where I live and walked a little and saw the sun set – peaking through the smoke of fires that have been burning for over two weeks now – and it was kind of beautiful.
A few days after our meeting, Mortensen called and left a message on voice mail. He had been thinking about what he’d said regarding immortality and he was concerned now that perhaps he had taken too vehement a position: “I know I said I wanted to live forever and I would never be bored, but the reality is, it’s probably kind of sad to live forever if you’re the only one sticking around. I guess living through injury and disease is pretty hard too, so I don’t know — maybe immortality is not such a great thing. You know, Freud accepted his lot very stoically and very well and with a sense of humor. He aged and died gracefully and there’s a lot to be said for that. Still, it would be nice to live a little longer, with your mind intact and your body reasonably functioning. . .”
August | 2020
A little evening light. If I had to choose between evening light and morning light I’d think I’d choose the former. But by evening I have already settled in. Behavior learned from decades of going to bed early because of work. I forget now that there is nowhere I have to be the next morning and so going for a walk at dusk would be so easy and I forget how many times over the years I lamented that I could not. It’s funny the things we get use to even without our attention.
Took a different route around the neighborhood. Still with the newspaper though. I can’t help myself.