Last year I worked in downtown San Francisco. I sometimes walked at lunch time, and noted my observations, which you can read here and here. I wrote this one around the same time but never published it. So, lest I forget to note this special walk, here it is.
Our building, the Metreon, is next to a vast-ish park area which I have never explored. Until today. I wanted to see all it contained. I found a carousel and carried on. I walked up some steps and discovered a hidden-away playground area. Lots of concrete surrounding some grass. There is a bit of a concrete wall around the grass area, but that wall is not even; it goes up and down like sine and cosine, which makes it super fun to walk along. I appreciate that detail for the children. … and me. Ahem.
Lots of mommies and little ones, and nannies I’m sure. There are slides and things upon which to climb. Around the edge of this whole area are various little shops and things, bowling, an ice-skating place, etc. It’s not an oasis, per se, but I like that it’s hiding away and when you look up you see sky scraping pillars and more sky than you remembered, and when you look around you see grass and kids.
This part of Yerba Buena, as it’s called, is across the street from the Metreon. It extends to the Metreon block as well, and these blocks are connected by a bridge over Howard Street. I walked to the middle of the bridge and took a 360 panorama. If you must know, I took three panoramas because I couldn’t fit it all into one for some reason, as dictated by my phone.
The other side of Yerba Buena is more garden-y. So many flowers, a terrace, a fountain/waterfall, a large grassy area where they hold events and where hundreds sit and lounge and play futbol and eat and some even live there, I expect. I was looking at a brilliantly colourful hedge of flowers, and as I was taking a photograph, a hummingbird arrived. I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to one. I was thrilled.
I sat by the fountain for a while and noticed how quiet things seemed there. I will go back to sit and read another day.
Then I crossed the street and went to visit St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Mission. A number of individuals were sitting in the sanctuary, dotted around and prayerful. Some lit candles. Some whispered to others. I sat in the back so I could observe it all easily. I wanted to take in the silence and the appearance of things.
So many statues and icons. The walls and whatever materials were used for them were plainer than some cathedrals and similar churches. Standard red carpet down the middle. So many people came in and out as I sat there, probably for five minutes that felt eternal. And I found myself needing to know, why are people here? What are they doing and wanting? Why did you choose to come to this church at 3:00 and where are you going after this? What are you looking for?
I went out a side door and took the long way back to the office. When I sat down at my desk, the next door restaurant was playing a song with the line ‘somebody to love.’ And I thought, They are looking for the wrong somebody. He’s already loving them and they don’t get it. They don’t know. They pass by Him like I’ve passed by the hidden playground and gardens. Like how the unassuming church sits seemingly overshadowed by structures for profit. We all have done this. We all miss hummingbird glory and fountain peace. God gives us His glory and peace, and we look for someone else to love.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.