The Kindness of Kindred Spirits

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Growing up with a Canadian mother brought me great joy and profound insights. I learned life survives ferocious winters, hospitality trumps even the most mean-spirited, and no person arrives on earth better than anyone else. As the Canucks among you can tell, my mom came from the Western Prairies (a bastion of both radicalism and independence).

Her greatest gift lay in teaching me to seek out kindred spirits. Inspired by her favorite book Anne of Green Gables this meant looking inside a person to find their core values and beliefs. In the process you disregarded differences in race, class, and gender. Looking back on my mom’s amazing life she never faltered from this approach however far it drove her from the path planned out for her. As a result she created a beautiful extended family which still benefits us long after her passing. Image

It hit me again tonight as I visited other bloggers’ sites. Like my mom, WordPress gathers a pretty diverse bunch. These bloggers write for various reasons: to capture beautiful images all around the world; to save souls through politics or religion; or to share their hard won  knowledge and experience (without payment). At their core, each seeks to bring beauty where perhaps none currently exists or wants to show the beauty our busy eyes currently disregard. Image

One of the cool things about aging is you really grasp how little trappings matter. You have been fooled once too often, survived losses you once assumed insurmountable, and humbled by how the little things make you the happiest. It’s truly what the cliché “youth is wasted on the young” means. But of course, the cliché disregards the lessons one must necessarily learn to get where light shines through darkness. Image

It’s late so I’ll wrap up now. However, let me give a shout out to kindred spirits in my life (both real and virtual). Most importantly let me say love you to the woman who got me out of bed to write it. Miss you Mom. Here’s  one of your favorite places (SF Japanese Tea GardenImage

 

Color Splashing on a Sunny Day

 

San Francisco now enters our most glorious weather period of the year. End of summer and early fall represent our warmest and clearest months. It brings clear blue skies (minus the fog), toasty warm days (upper seventies), and explosions of people on the street. Only the kids forced back to school as summer actually starts and sweatshirt vendors unable to clothe tourists in tacky memorabilia get upset. Everyone else throws on what passes for summer gear and heads out the door.

This past week I wandered through the Tenderloin in search of color and found small gardens dotting the landscape. Among my favorites was a riotous gathering of colorful flowers guarding the entrance to a rest home.  Granted flowers were unlikely drought resistent nor did the garden make space for veggies (all important considerations. But its jumbled beauty brought smiles to walkers passing on the street.

Other parts of the garden appeared “organized” but are no less lovely in their color burst

In contrast, City maintained parks line up in cool geometric patters to maximize space. However, none skimp on color or texture.

Sometimes also plants just randomly shoot up on their own on City Property (how appropriate it’s a lovely purple flowering plant).

Sometimes too it’s just a colorful tree on a median joining those near it to grab the maximum sun and attention.

Nor should I neglect the federal government, which has added a lovely garden of metal and flowers to its Golden Gate Courthouse.