One of the great joys of travel, apart from getting to relax and take in new or familiar places, is the perspective on your life it offers when you return. Coming back to San Francisco last week felt comforting, and I was also happy to slowly settle back into my regular routines with some fresh energy – jetlag notwithstanding. I had not scheduled much for myself in the first few days of being back, apart from launching the Suzuki Roshi class, so I could ease myself in and try to catch up with the many miscellaneous strands of things I do.
Happily the weather has been extremely pleasant since I got back; with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures, the sky bright and vivid, and the sunrises and sunsets that I saw rich and colourful.
I have had other recent experiences of getting fresh perspectives in recent weeks, which I have been wanting to try to put words to. There have been a spate of park openings in the city this year, all on the north side of town. A few weeks ago, we had a roam that took in Francisco Park, poised on the edge of Russian Hill above Ghirardelli Square. I have walked around all the edges of the park when it was just the abandoned space of the old reservoir that fed fresh water to the city in its earliest incarnations. Standing in the middle of it, surrounded by people relaxing and enjoying themselves, I had an uncanny sense of spaciousness, and a feeling that I was trying to bring this new view, these surroundings, into my body to make them feel as familiar as other vistas are.
Similarly, with the Tunnel Tops in the Presidio, which opened to great fanfare while I was away (and to a lesser extent the adjacent Battery Bluffs), I rode my bike down there the morning after I returned to orient myself to the newly available space, and found another relaxed crowd – I chatted with a hiking group who had come up from the South Bay to explore – and unbelievable views across to the Golden Gate Bridge, the islands, large swathes of the bay, as well as seeing the city off in the distance. It is not so different from the view you can get at water level on Crissy Field, and yet it felt totally new.
On Sunday afternoon we will visit these new spaces in the Presidio as part of the next roam. I expect there will be a crowd showing up, but please come along if you feel moved, and we will take in the new perspectives together, and hopefully feel revitalised in our lives as a result.