“Hey, let’s go bike out to the ocean and watch the sunset!” is not an offer commonly made in January in San Francisco. Or any month for that matter. It usually would involve either howling winds or driving rain or fog so dense you can barely see your hand in front of you, never mind a distand sunset. But tonight that’s exactly what my wife and I did and it was glorious. The San Francisco of my dreams, the perfect temperature that it has been all week (hovering around 70), a pristine blue sky with its sparkling Mediterranean light. Up above the Cliff House, the coastline curving south, the seals out on the rocks, the folks strolling about the ruins of Sutro Baths below, the Marin hills to the north, the Farallon Islands on the horizon and the sun balanced like a beach ball on the ocean’s edge before sinking down to announce the close of day. Exercise, beauty and comraderie to punctuate the end of a full day of teaching and ease into the beckoning evening. Yeah!!
And yet. “May you live in interesting times” says the blessing and the curse. I suspect all times are interesting (or are they?) but what’s important is to try to understand precisely how they are interesting. In this case, it’s that sense of pure joy good weather brings marred by that ink blot of doubt— “It’s January. This should not be.” My heater should be chugging away, the rains should be falling and even occasionally flooding, the plum blossoms should stay tucked in their branches for another few weeks (already saw one tree in full bloom!). We joke around— “If this be climate change, bring it on!”— but underneath is a sense of uneasiness.
It’s a good skill to perceive the light insight every shadow, but the maddening reverse truth is that a shadow lurks in every light. The weather turns good and we worry. We welcome a new baby and look at the population numbers rising. We breed sensitive, aware, caring people committed to healing the devastation of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and find that we’re afraid to talk to anybody for fear of offense. We revel in electronic freedoms and then realize NSA’s looking over our shoulder. ( Is one of them reading this now and chortling, “You’re damn right, buddy!”?) We can watch video on demand and satisfy most every urge and then realize that we can watch videos on demand and satisfy most every urge.
Interesting times, indeed. But still beautiful the sunset in this most magnificent jeweled city. See you there tomorrow.