The Best Of Times

As someone who still usually wakes up at monk-o-clock, I appreciate how early it gets light at this time of year. At the same time, we have entered a spell of warm weather, so I don’t have to bundle up as soon as I get out of bed; I can feel how my body relaxes with this, and with walking in the sun. And as the sun rises and sets further to the north, we can enjoy early and late sun slanting in through the window of our north-facing bedroom.

After a couple of weeks with minimal riding due to myself and my partner getting our vaccines, I was ready to put in some hours on the bike this past weekend, and was rewarded with perfect conditions: endless blue skies, and, on Saturday at least, not a breath of wind. Both days I left the house before 7:00am, which meant I could enjoy the roads with fewer people out. On Saturday I took the Crystal Springs trail for the first time in months, being a little more relaxed than last time about the number of people not wearing masks. On Sunday I was out along the Bay Trail, doing my own version of Bay to Breakers, crossing from adjacent to the airport, over the crest at Skyline, towards Pacifica before turning north to Ocean Beach. On the roads and trails over the weekend I saw more wildlowers, columbines and white lupins particularly, as well as quail and hawks, even a lone Stellar’s jay in Golden Gate Park, which almost made me nostalgic for their hegemony over Tassajara.

It is the anniversary of my arrival in San Francisco; I always like to note it, last year especially so, as it marked twenty years of living here. For all that the pandemic lingers and threatens never to disappear entirely, I feel content about my life, and happy that I get to be sharing the teachings so often.

This week only, I am making a couple of extra appearances on Within: in addition to my ‘Just Sitting’ class this evening at 6:00, I am subbing the Saturday morning class, at 8:30, which will be more traditional mindfulness than my regular class; then on Sunday I am offering an hour-long presentation and discussion, as part of the series How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life. Organising what I am going to say for that is also offering many opportunities for reflection.

Some of the varied places I rode to over the weekend: crossing the 92 by the reservoirs.
Venturing down a bit of dirt towards San Juan Canyon.
San Bruno Mountain looms in the distance – you might just be able to make out the Sutro tower as well.
The last few miles across the Excelsior district with clearer views of downtown.
Heading towards the Bay Trail out of the city.
At Sierra Point looking north, with many container ships moored in the bay.
I saw some of the old buildings at Oyster Point had been demolished, in addition to these new constructions.
I discovered that the path marked on the map did indeed pass underneath Highway 1 in Pacifica.
Looking across to San Bruno Mountain from the top of the hill by Skyline.
I had never checked out the view from that subdivision, north towards Mount Tam, with waves breaking at Fort Funston and Ocean Beach.
One of the hawks I saw on Sunday, keeping watch over Great Highway.
The sand had encroached across two lanes.

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