Sunday, January 18, 2009

January Sunday

I set off at midday in balmy weather from the MUNI stop at Mission and 16th, where I just had time to photograph this enigmatic message before catching the 49 Van Ness which took me within a block of the cafe at Polk and Washington where I had arranged to meet a friend who had spent the morning there writing poetry (actually, as I later heard, writing one 11-syllable line, but it is thought to be a promising line). We followed Polk on foot down to the Bay, and then set off westwards along the water.

At the end of Fisherman's Wharf we walked out on the derelict concrete Municipal Pier. It has the look of another WPA project from the 1930s, gradually crumbling into the water. (I wonder who decided that a blue diamond with reverse-contrast lettering was the best way to get across the Do Not Litter message).

We kept walking west, simultaneously gossiping and taking in the gorgeous afternoon, as we made our way toward the city's most famous landmark along the stretch of beach restored by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. I suspect this might be the very first picture I have ever personally taken of the Golden Gate Bridge. I moved here 40 years ago at age 18, the earliest I could get away from where I came from. But even starting so young as a Californian, I still felt self-conscious as an immigrant, and consequently would be careful not to do tourist-like things, such as photographing the Golden Gate Bridge. Only now, in advanced years, can I be unselfconscious enough to photograph whatever is convenient and not bother to edit.

By the time we had walked back into the city proper the sun was fading and the afternoon was ending. The acacia trees are always the year's earliest bloomers, though the extra warm weather has brought them out a couple of weeks earlier than usual this year. I photographed this one in particular because it stood against a building in the pale pink stucco that I always think of as a characteristic San Francisco look. Next will come the cherry blossoms.