The new Bay Bridge between San Francisco and the East Bay is well under way and we decided to try and get a closer view. A year or so ago when it was first begun, we took a boat and picnicked in the lee of Treasure Island and watched its birth pangs a number of times, but had only seen news pictures of it of late, so we decided on a recent brilliant holiday morning with clear skies and a feel of Spring in the air, to try and see it from our side of the Bay.
Somehow or other, we missed the last turnoff before the bridge approach and with no other choice at hand, we were forced to drive across the bridge, but we got a good look at its progress. A number of years ago, I was on a flight with a young man who was going into the City to present his plans for the bridge. I got a first hand look at his plans, although they were not the ones chosen for the project. Nevertheless I felt exhilarated to think they might have been.
Aside from it being a decidedly Springlike day, there was no traffic! Unheard of in our area. We went on to one of our favorite coffee houses in the entire City—Delancy Street, where they purvey not only coffee and food, but have the absolute best selection of current books and cards. If I lived closer, I would never go to Hallmark again.
I met a lovely woman wearing a stunning hand-woven coat she had bought in West Africa. She was quite tall and thin, handsome rather than beautiful, African-American with magnifient bone structure, large dark eyes and very white teeth. She wore her hair clipped close to her head, and had large dangling earrings. I have always said if I were African-American that is exactly how I would look. Not easy for someone only 5’1/2″ with grey hair, but I can dream. I feel sad that I could not paint her.
San Francisco on a sunny day offers a world of street entertainment. We saw someone, a man or a very tall skinny woman, petitioning cars at a stop sign and wearing a large brown dog’s head, and carrying a hand-printed cardboard sign saying “FEED ME”. I had to admit it was clever advertising.
Down along the Marina Green, where the America’s Cup race will be the drawing the boating crowd next year, there were dozens of small sailboats out testing the wind, looking like tiny white flowers flitting across an extraordinary blue Bay.
We grabbed a sandwich at the nearby Safeway, and settled down to enjoy the other picnicers, runners, bikers, dogs, and kids flying some pretty wild colorful kites. We often replayed this same scene through the years with our daughters, and then with grandchildren with their own kites. On at least one such outing, the pigeons joined us. The late columnist Herb Caen always referred to them as “feathered rats”, but we have at least one grandson who once raised both arms out to the side at shoulder height, and received the “blessing” of an armful of admiring pigeons. Herb may have thought they were no-account birds, but obviously one little boy disagreed with him.
We finished our lovely day at the Presidio, where the sunset was coloring the sky and the ocean with unimaginable and unpaintable beauty. I’m so glad we missed the last turn-off before the bridge.