the walk … love overlooked

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.

IMG_20140729_150707240

IMG_20140729_150603438

IMG_20140729_150646277

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.

IMG_20140729_150835644

 

IMG_20140729_151353320

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.

Little church among the skyscrapers.

Little church among the skyscrapers.

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.

of europe, by observation

I can’t believe how much I got to travel this year. Much of this is thanks to my husband’s vast knowledge of credit card points. There’s so much I observed, but here, for this post on a traveler’s thoughts, I decided to share something personal – what I liked. And didn’t. It’s simple. No explanations, no justification. Just one girl’s opinion.

Here’s what I love about England:

awesome sign phrasing

Humps.

Humps.

No ball games.

No ball games.

Blind summit.

Blind summit.

my vocabulary improved here

the front of cars are short, which helps with turn radius for small spaces

yellow warning traffic light before it turns green, just as we already have before the red light

politeness

nice drivers, plus they use headlights to communicate

the cloud – free internet available in most sizeable towns!

.

Here’s what I don’t understand about England:

two faucets, one hot, one cold

road systems – why are there letters and numbers?

low street signs, often blocked by cars or bushes and not out by the street

This one`s not quite so bad, but still.

This one`s not quite so bad, but still.

Just plain hard to see. But also precious.

Just plain hard to see. But also precious.

London Underground prices

huge outlets and plugs

smoking

.

Here’s what I liked about Italy:

the Dolomites

IMG_20150619_033132875

Ummmm yeah.

plants and flowers everywhere

IMG_20150622_241105464

IMG_20150622_241300332

A garden FULL of jasmine! Such gorgeous allergies.

coffee. coffee. coffee.

Can you not see his joy?

Can you not see his joy?

.

What’s not great about Italy:

driving and drivers

tolls. tolls. tolls.

.

In Slovenia, I loved:

slow pace

infrastructure

growth

green

Lake Bled.

Lake Bled.

IMG_20150615_104239678

walkways

stacked wood by every house

hay piles/shelves, by almost every house

B&B doors also function as windows. they’re multi-functional that way.

.

What I missed about America basically tells you what else I didn’t enjoy abroad:

free bathrooms

no sound barriers on highway – no obstructed views

Seriously, they were like this but much worse and opaque and you couldn't see any beautiful things!

{Seriously, they were like this but much worse and opaque and you couldn’t see any beautiful things!}

free water

free highways

less smoking

street signs

positivity about life

 

.

I guess the sum of it is, coming home is sweet. But it’s also not perfect, and there’s so much beauty elsewhere, that we must seek adventures, you and I. We must cherish our home and our adventures as two sides of the same coin of wholeness. And those are today’s traveler thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of what to do before you leave

I started this during the last days in San Francisco, now over six months ago. I was pondering so much, grateful and grieving. So glad for the experiences and the people and the beauty. Mourning the impending distance between those things and me. And the unexplored things, the things I neglected to investigate. And actually, satisfied with how I did a few things.

So as a reminder to myself and to you, dear reader, here’s what I think we should do, right where we are, every day.

Soak up the time with your loves. You will never leave a place and think, I spent too much time with my dearest friends.

IMG_0547 IMG_20150802_125843779 IMG_20150731_171526551

Be proactive about exploring. Take it all in. You are unlikely to leave and think, I learned too much about my city and participated too much in my local community.

Pray for your city.

IMG_20150801_180233792 IMG_20150801_153641257

Make memories in your home. Use it for so many good things.

Dig in, settle in. You might have a plan for how long you’ll be here, but you really have no idea. Why not make it home? Live in this present place and learn to love it. That is how to be a good steward.

For now, this is your place – what will you do before you leave?

.