The San Francisco area confounds me.
The drive into Marin is surrounded by large, rolling hills, soft and smooth like a woman's belly. Here and there are clumps of soft bushy trees, perfectly placed. The land is warm, enveloping. I want to be pulled into it.
Then, over a single hill, change. Everywhere, sprawl. We are surrounded by corners, cement, gray. Buildings and signs. The green of the grass and the hills is less vibrant, and even the trees seem droopier. So much of the area is like that. Spots here and there that are immensely beautiful, but then just around the next corner or over the next rise is congested traffic, buildings everywhere, a wasteland of cement and asphalt. I was torn -- on the one hand, I want to think it renders the natural beauty of the area more shallow. It only stretches so far before you see what is beneath, what surrounds. But on the other hand, the contrast makes it seem somehow more precious, as well.
The sun was out this weekend while we were down. We spent some time on the beach. Sat out in the sunlight watching the water. Walked barefoot in the sand, feeling sand between my toes, the bay water gently kissing my feet. Meditated. Let the sunlight, the water, the air penetrate my mind, my psyche. The experience was regenerative. Sitting out on the beach, surrounded by friends but silent, each of us caught up in our own thoughts, I felt more at one with myself.
The locals say that San Francisco is not always so warm and sunny, and that we should not think of this weekend as representative of San Francisco in general. It's difficult not to, though, as that's all I've seen. I felt it calling to me. I'd like to spend more time there sometime, get to know the area better.