On the edge of the world with a moment to breathe

This is the first weekend I have been obligation-free for at least the last month.  My free time has been pleasantly occupied by working with a local ceramic artist helping him get ready for a big show in Beverly Hills.  Now that the show has begun, I’ve had a couple coveted days to ground myself into my own reality again.

So I immediately ran out of the house and into the sunlight.  With the sun radiating from the pile of metal pods I sat among,  I spent an anticipated hour in traffic just crossing the bridge into San Francisco.  It was Saturday and the weather was perfect so everyone was headed to the city.  I was headed through it to my favorite spot on the ocean, the Sutro Bath Ruins and the Land’s End trail.  I desperately needed a good walk.  The Land’s End trail was quite short and of course, crawling with people.  Much of it was far above the beach and hiding behind foliage but I was feeling rather alert that day and was content to take in all the amazing wildflowers along the trail, the occasional picturesque glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, the smell of the junipers and eucalyptus mixing with the freshness of the ocean and the exposed bits of serpentine underfoot polished by people’s feet.

I went down to the shore on my way back towards the ruins where I came upon two large half-intact tiled rooms that looked as though they had been thrown out of the ocean and smashed onto the shore of jagged rocks.  I felt like I found a small pile of treasure.  I imagine they were remains of the old bath ruins which for some reason have held a haunting allure since I first visited them.  Besides that, they were coated with graffiti which as many know, also holds a special place in my heart.  I dawdled awhile taking photos of what I pretended was my own private pile of ruins.  This was my first adventure out with my old SLR camera since it was shipped to me and upon editing my photos, I was quite happy to be lugging him around again.

The large boulders and rounded rocks along the shore were extremely eye-catching.  I’ve never seen such large pieces of serpentine.  There were obvious conglomerates that I suspect were from man-made rubble but I could be entirely wrong and in this case, I let my imagination pretend that they were really the result of an amazingly violent underground seismic battle and that they lay here to remind the human world of the real power the earth holds.

There was a lot of man-made rubble on the shores- old concrete, eroded metal pipes and crooked rods, bricks and tile.  I spent a long time positioning and photographing a large intact brick wall piece that had been rounded and smoothed by the waves.  I really appreciated that from a certain angle it took on a bizarrely wise human quality.  The years from it’s pristine inception and fulfillment of purpose through it’s moments of worn suffering have given it a clearer understanding of what it truly means to live and in turn, an expression of an elder’s contentment.

As I continued along the beach, the rounded rocks began to disappear, the cliffs were encroaching and there was no where to go but up.  I wasn’t deterred; I came for at least a mild sense of adventure.  So I climbed up the cliffs, in a new pair of sandals that did their job relatively well, being more careful than usual as one slip on these rocks, jagged with corroded veins of sharp iron that made me feel like I was on the surface of an otherworldly asteroid, would probably tear off a good amount of flesh.  I imagine my mother is likely grimacing at this point and is quite happy that though I don’t have health insurance at least I have life insurance.

To me, this day was what life was all about.  I admit I often am not able to live fully in the present moment.  I constantly worry about all the big things, like what am I doing with my life, and all the small things like getting to the bank and having enough quarters to park.  I don’t leave as much for the present as I’d like.  It’s hard to do that, honestly it isn’t socially acceptable.  You’re “supposed” to plan ahead.  You’re “supposed” to examine the past so that you learn and find success in the future.  The present is simply a means to an end.  How very untrue that is and how very difficult it is to truly feel that.  I very much appreciated my day in the sun, in the wind, and in the mud among the smell of the ocean and the spray paint clinging my toes against razor sharp cliffs.  I truly lived that day.



2 thoughts on “On the edge of the world with a moment to breathe

  1. Hi Fade,
    What an adventure at the edge of the sea! From the perspective of a 61 year old, the present is all we really have. The future is theoretical, so spend the present wisely. I have no health insurance, and am totally happy. No use in worrying. Just “build your little grain of coral” everyday, as my step-father used to say, and that will be your antidote to worrying, since you are doing all you can and that is all we can do. My mother was a worrier, and I didn’t want to be like that, so I found this way to be better. I will call you soon. All is well in the commonwealth…

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