Saturday, November 05, 2011

My last week here in the Bay has treated me to continuing Indian summer with day-glo blue skies and amazing sunsets so sudden it's like the moon, which has been floating high fragile as a snowflake for ages, has finally lost patience and yelled “you’re supposed to be on a break” across the celestial orbs.
For me this means more long walks, with birds and surfers to watch as well as the long rolling waves. I've been doing most of my writing on the hoof in a notebook, my laptop mainly used to scroll world news. “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking” Nietzsche said. I don't know about great thoughts but the tranquility is marvellous.
Longest walk - five and a half hours - took me up to the Moss Beach Marine Reserve, over Pillar Point bluff, breeding ground for seals as well as unique preserve of molluscs and other sea life.
The only other life form I see on these perambulations is generally canine plus owner, and I'm going to share now, with fulsome apology to all the very lovely doggy people I know (Anja, Jacqui, Rose et al...) that after three weeks in California I’ve developed a fervent wish that dog-owning will some day become as unpopular as public smoking and for much the same reasons: environmentally polluting, intrustive and unhealthy for passive victims. Even in the sublime serenity of a beach at sunset you’re not safe from a woman brandishing a ball in one of those long plastic claws calling out reassuringly ‘He’s only being friendly!’ The tempting, but unuttered, response is ‘Madam, were your son as big as a pony with the exhuberance of a Drone bomber, would you be equally blasé to watch him paw my breast, headbutt my chin, and lick up my nose? I think not Madam, indeed I suspect you would have required sharp words with his teacher and grounded him for the rest of his puberty.’
Don’t get the impression I’m anthropophobic or averse to fraternising, far from it. Every stranger who's connected with me by word or gesture has been really friendly - and despite my joy in solitude I’ve had great social times too: with the Coastside Life Story Writers group who made me hugely welcome at their meeting and over lunch, at Dave Minton’s Spoken Word event, Mo’s amazing music night (six singer/guitarists & electric standing bass), and the Friday morning jamming sessions at Ramans - all highlights of my stay.

So too was our visit to the city, fortuitously on the only rainy day of my trip. Masters of Venice was the stunning and surprisingly sensuous exhibition we viewed at the de Younge Fine Art Gallery - here's Titian's Danaë and the shower of gold - followed by an afternoon in hippy Haight district, with amazing shops like Piedmont Boutique, and taking a detour past the Occupy camp to show solidarity on the way home.
So tomorrow I'll be flying out of San Francisco: no more walks along the bay where white waves crash endlessly and sunlight glitters liquid silver over amethyst ocean and the sky is so enormously blue all I can say to describe what I see, like Steve Jobs facing death, is Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

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