Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Walk in the Hills

I wanted to be outdoors this afternoon while the sun was shining and decided to walk up into the steep residential hills behind Dolores Park. The pictures above go to illustrate that the higher into the hills you go, the greater the share of San Francisco houses that retain their original fittings and ornaments.

I had never noticed this particular public stairway before. The sidewalk/path it led to ran for one long block above a roadway too narrow to allow for a regular sidewalk. Conception and styling proclaimed WPA influence.

There was a strip of ground about fifteen feet wide running between the path and the edge of the embankment. The residents appeared to treat this space as an extended common garden, with some spots individualized a bit in front of particular houses. Below, I admired a series of round stone markers flat on the ground like stepping stones, each with a single name carved.

At first, I thought each stone represented a child or a family member, but gradually it came to seem likelier that the names commemorated dead dogs or cats.

I was sorry to reach the top of the path and find myself obliged to re-enter the ordinary world. How homey and humble these multi-million dollar houses and their environs look, up close.

Had expected more of that bright clear sunshine today that we usually get after several days of rain, but the sky looked mostly hazy and colorless as can be seen below. This is what I saw coming down the hill with Eureka Valley spread out below including the great big gay flag erected some years ago by a grateful city. Castro Street runs from the lower right corner upward toward the middle of the strip of blurry grey sky.