I am observing the loss of a Historical Icon this past week and the feeling of loss for my friends, my partner and myself and for the city of San Francisco. I took this picture of the Cliff House Restaurant in San Francisco on New Year’s Day last year. Our tradition, Jo and I, was to have breakfast there every New Year’s Day. We get there early and sit at the Zinc Bar for Breakfast, Bloody Mary’s, and share conversation with others who would come and do the same. Then we would walk the beach and hike around the park and the Sutro Ruins. For over 3 decades, we have had many dinners, anniversaries, celebrations, Mother’s Days, and just because meals there. That building talks to me. The grounds that this building stands on has it’s own feel and personality. Its history is rich and full and now it is gone.
Many restaurants are gone right now due to COVID-19 and the financial strain that it has caused. This building and land is part of the National Park Service that has leased it to the owners of the Cliff House for many, many years. But, due to poor negotiations between the two, the restaurant could not survive. I am unsure what will happen to this building and the rich historical artifacts that were displayed in this building from the Sutro’s Bath House. It is just a sad moment for me and all history buffs who love of this part of San Francisco. You can also go to http://www.cliffhouse.com to read more. I don’t need to put those details here as they are explained very well on their website.
Other favorite pictures from visits to the Cliff House:
I have this yearning desire to be at and walk about the Golden Gate National Park and all its various sites of interest. Lands’ End with the Sutro Bath ruins, Ocean Beach, the Cliff House, and Sutro Heights. Marin Headlands with Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais, and all the hiking and breath taking views and their oneness with land and sea. The Olema Valley and its farms and rolling hills that gives way to horseback riding. The Tennessee Valley in Marin with its wildlife that longs to stay untouched by development. Point Bonita Lighthouse that shines her light for ships to sail safely through the Golden Gate. Fort Baker and Fort Point with its history of protecting the entrance into San Francisco and its Lighthouse. Stinson Beach that hosts many memories of playing with my dog and the gathering of friends. Crissy Field and its aviation history along with the Presidio and Alcatraz, too. I want to walk and play and to be a part of it all. I want to write about it, learn about it, and imagine the people of “then” that made my “now” what it is.
I was looking at the printed posters, by the artist Michael Schwab, for each of these places and I imagined a room with them hanging on the walls along with photos that I have taken. I love my pictures and I love expressing through the eye of the camera; to capture the essence of the moment. There are times, though, that my camera cannot replace the act of just standing in the presence of the aweness of a location or event. To even try and take a picture is to miss the moment. I must be fully present with what is before me. My memory will prove to be a better memento that comes with feelings and sensations than a photo which cannot capture the grandness, the full experience, of what is before me. Yes, there are times for pictures and it is when it can capture the essence of the moment and the feelings. And when the light and balance within the frame harmoniously plays with each other… it is magical art and it is the embodiment of the soul being displayed as art. I can stare at it and gain more awareness of not just what I am looking at, but an inner awareness of myself… the Self that is stirred by looking through the thin area of the veil and seeing beyond what is physically there. It is then I just observe and do nothing more than be in the presence of what is before me and notice how much I am a part of it.