Tuesday, December 11, 2012

California in November

A word from our sponsors.

Like countless other San Francisco transplants, I came west for the vibrant culture, a personal re-boot, and mild weather year-round. 

Before I moved to California, my imagination centered on stimulating elements of city life:  art, music, food, diversity, a new, sprawling canvas of neighborhoods and people and activities I was hungry to explore. I didn't appreciate California's rich natural world until I'd been here for a while.  

Over a recent weekend, I re-acquainted myself with a small slice of this physical beauty, which tends to be out of sight, out of mind when you're in the middle of a dense urban area

A Sunday trip started at Sutro Baths (below), once "the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment," according to Wikipedia. The structure was removed some decades back. Here's a view of what's left from up the hill:    

(Click on photo to enlarge)

The next stop was the Marin Headlands, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

A trowel-like cloud formation appeared over the road which climbs to the highest vantage point:

Here's a view of the Headlands around back, with Mount Tamalpais edging the horizon,

and while I took in that grandeur, I found two little birds, kissing in a tree:

Winding east are stairs, 

and back at the front of the Marin Headlands, we find San Francisco,

the Golden Gate Bridge, with Alcatraz poking out from the left side of the frame,

San Francisco behind the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge, 

(Click on photo to enlarge)

and the long view:  San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Headlands all in one.


Over the years, I've heard ex-pats from the East Coast and upper Midwest whine about the lack of clearly-defined seasons in the Bay Area. 

I can understand missing spring. After you've been cooped up indoors for several months, it's really uplifting to see the snow melt, to be able to go outside whenever you want in just one or two layers of clothes, to feel life re-emerge writ large. There's no such catharsis in San Francisco, because of its narrow temperature range

Not to mention, Christmas isn't the same when it's sixty degrees and sunny outside, with palm fronds rustling in the breeze.  

But we do have a wonderful Indian summer, and fall colors, including yellow, 



and amalgams thereof.

And we have a pure blue sky 
whose frequent, friendly presence  
draws legions to the Golden State, 
and keeps many of us out here.
Other "Truth and Beauty" photo essays:

"On a clear day you can see forever" is a guided tour through San Francisco on a beautiful Indian Summer day

"Gone but not Forgotten" is a tribute to a friend who left this world all too soon 

"Random San Francisco" has 46 photos which range from 
ornate architecture to street scenes to vistas to murals

"A Sunny* Monday in San Francisco" is a day tour of the city, 
from Mission Street to the Pacific Ocean

"The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the Marin Headlands

                 "Vintage Cars" is an evening tour of old automobiles in the Mission District


  1. What a beautiful photo essay. Your clear, succinct words do justice to the area even as you show your deep affection for it. Readers (including me) will want to go there!

  2. Very nice, as always. You summed up most of what keeps me in this increasingly expensive and crowded city...

  3. Beautiful! I can see why San Francisco lures people to it. Today on Christmas western Wisconsin is a little below zero and the sky is brilliant blue, the snow sparkling in the light. I have come to see it as a little slice of paradise. I think the secret is to find the beauty wherever you are.

  4. I live almost 300 miles north. When I think of The City I think, not so far....