Sunday, December 18, 2016

Five-Year Flashback

After spending two weeks in the solitude of the Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate, I am winding down from a weekend of hyper metropolitan experience in San Francisco. Breakfasting in the Fort Mason hostel cafe, while overlooking the morning fog hugging the bridge towers and obscuring Mount Tam, I reflected on my recent respite at the Headlands Hostel and Arts Center.

Today ended Fleet Week on San Francisco Bay, and the concurrent carnival of militarism. Even the dazzling air maneuvers of naval fighter jets leave something to be desired as loud speakers at the Maritime Museum blare with patriotic bon ami. Alas, the one point of sobriety and sanity on Fisherman's Wharf was the booth manned by Iraq Veterans Against the War. As their sign noted, "War is Not a Game."

Between my benign breakfast and hectic encounter with war tourists on the Embarcadero, however, I caught the Van Ness/Mission bus from Galileo Academy over to the Mission District, and enjoyed a brief stroll around the neighborhood where I went to graduate school ten years ago. The school itself is closed and boarded up, but the art nouveau iron work out front still sports the NC in silent memory of New College of California, an institution that for thirty years promoted peace and freedom and mindful creativity rather than mindless conformity.

It has been a month now since our lives were thrown into turmoil, and coming to terms with our exodus from Marin has been daunting. But today reminded me of the ties I will always have to San Francisco, regardless of where I venture forth. Taking another week to do these tasks is just something that has to be done.

All part of the long goodbye.

*This article was originally published at Skookum on October 9, 2011 as The Long Goodbye.


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