I had nothing to do today (Saturday), and being a person born of low energy I took advantage. I stayed up in to the wee hours of Friday night/morning watching TV and reading and napping off and on. Went to sleep about 15 minutes til 6 a.m. this Saturday. Woke up around 11 a.m. and slowly uncoiled, ate cereal and part of a huge mango with coffee on the side.
I put on clothes and brushed at my mop of hair on the outside chance that someone might drop by; though, I was not expecting anyone as I already knew what my son and his partner were doing and the one friend I’ve made here in San Francisco was preparing for her boyfriend’s arrival from India two days from now. I read, watched TV and napped (heaven). But, by around 2:30 pm I began to feel too unproductive and not really wanting to tackle the wash that accumulated over the past two weeks, I decided to walk down to my beloved Sutro beach area to get some much needed exercise and to enjoy this lovely, June, sunshine-filled day.
My tummy was starting to remind me that I’d eaten very little today, so I thought as an added incentive, I might drop in at the Cliff House for an appetizer and a drink. Oh, my soul, what a wonderfully, delightful place I have come to inhabit. The coolest breeze off the ocean kept the sun from beaming down too hot, and the fresh smells of newly growing plants and lovely blooming trees and birds wafting across on the waves of the wind made me feel like I was floating rather than walking the six blocks or so down to the Cliff House.
The tide was at a spot I had never witnessed before. The closest Seal Rock to the beach was half surrounded by dry looking beach sand. I had never seen it without water all around every inch of it. People were walking out to the rock even with children. I stood on the sea wall and watched in fascination because I had seen people stranded on the rock before and wondered how in the world they had managed to get through the rough water to the rock without being pounded against it. And, how in the world had they managed to climb up on that rock which had to be slick with algae and poop from the seals and birds. I have never seen a seal there but have been told they do come. Now it was all perfectly clear. At certain times of tide the rock is accessible from the beach on dry land! Who knew.
I spent a few minutes worrying for the safety of the folks down below as I have witnessed rescues by the fire department and park patrols and even once seen the aftermath of a drowning. There are signs everywhere warning that people are drowned here by being knocked off the cliffs and rocks.
Realizing that there was little I could do more than the signs to tell the people that they needed to be very careful, I wandered on to the Cliff House and was seated near a window so I could see the rock just as the tide began its slow incursion of the rock and beach one more time. It is easy now to see how folks get lured into being swept away by the water. It is really tricky. Here comes a big swell, and I think, “Man, that wave will top the rock.” It doesn’t. It simply brushes against the rock gently and rolls off the to the side beginning to fill in the sandy areas around the rock. This happens time and time again. Just as I am starting to believe that I must have imagined seeing the waves climb that rock many times, there it is! A wave that seemed really small and weak meets another coming the opposite direction and then another from another direction and the wind picks up a tad. Suddenly, just as they all reach the rock, small weak fingers of waves come together and crash against the stone sending a wave to the top and wash across to the opposite side. Now you know. Stay off the Seal Rocks.
My meal of crab cakes, cup of chowder and a citrus rum drink was topped off by coffee. Dinner taken care of, I wandered off to enjoy the beach, the huge Bonsais Pines and the day. God made such a lovely place here. I can’t help but pray and thank him every time I experience it. I also take a time to remember back to the visionary men and women who have created and preserved this place for so long. I think of Mr. Sutro as I walk past the two majestic concrete lion sentries that guard the entrance into Sutro Park where used to stand his mansion. And, I thank God for him too. Because he planted these pines and imported plants that clung to the sand dunes and cliffs in a grim determination to survive the ravages of the winds off the Pacific Ocean and hold on to the precious soil that tried to escape back into the water storm after storm. These pines have held on through earthquakes, fires and everything nature could throw at them to become the beautiful guardians they are now. I still suck in my breath when I look across the way and see them.
Bless the folks in San Francisco who have managed to keep this area free from encroaching commercialism. There is just the right amount of places to stay, live and buy a meal and a cup of coffee. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the volunteers who every year replenish the plants and put down soil guards to cling to the cliffs long enough to let the seedlings grow.
I am so blessed to have experienced this restful Saturday in the Sutro.
Ta ta San Fran