As the war continues in Ukraine, and the news reports continue to depress and horrify, I asked teacher colleagues how they were talking about it in classes. I heard back that they were saying similar things to me: the world is always in turmoil; we never have the resolution and stability we seek and wish for; this is more especially evident in times of crisis; we may feel powerless but we can focus on the things we are in control of; sometimes all we can do is send out lovingkindness and compassion to everyone who is suffering; it may not feel like much, but we can never fully know the impact of what we do. I have been strongly feeling the dual tendencies that humans excel at: suffering because of greed, hatred, and delusion on the one hand, and affirming community and altruism on the other (Rebecca Solnit is excellent to read on the latter).
Closer to home, on more mundane levels, it was a week of changeable weather, with cold mornings, warm afternoons, a band of rain passing through, a day of strong winds, and finally clear and warmer again. I doubled up on roams again: on Friday a group of us went from Mountain Lake along the Lobos Creek trail. Once we left the shelter of the trees, we were lashed by the wind – arriving at Baker Beach it was hard to face the ocean with the sand whipping along. At China Beach at least there was a little shelter. We were also accompanied by the new hum from the bridge, which was not especially pleasant, and I am glad I don’t live close to the bridge to have to endure that. On Saturday a larger group took in climbs of the four tallest points on San Francisco, Mount Sutro, Twin Peaks and Mount Davidson – the wind had eased, and the temperature was just about perfect for a strenuous hike, though by the time we headed down from the highest point in the city, around 4:30, it was feeling quite a bit fresher.
Naturally I had a couple of bike rides as well – on Friday morning, between the overnight rain and the wind, I tried a couple of climbs in the city, and on Sunday I made a long-overdue return to Sweeney Ridge. It was mainly notable as I had had the gears changed on the bike, with one larger rear cog than I had previously, allowing a little more ease on the steeper slopes. After a few years on the same routes, I have a clear memory of the gear I would usually be in at a particular place, and each time on these two rides, it felt a little different, as I would guess that the new cassette had different cog sizes throughout. It was also the last Sunday before the clock change. I made the most of the early light, knowing that will go away for the next month or two, though generally I happily trade that loss for the longer evenings. It will be another dislocation to navigate.