Heidi Of The Mountains took off to Mexico for a week with a few girlfriends, and now it is my turn.
San Francisco is just a few hours away by air and it holds special significance as being where I spent the last months of my oldest daughter's life with her. After Naomi's death in 1999, I would go back every spring and find the same places that now hold her footprint and summon my memory. I stay in the same hotel—The Seal Rock Inn, by Sutro Park, and it feels like home. Golden Gate Park is nearby, and I know it like the back of my hand. Each morning I go to a coffee house that is a local landmark, along Ocean Beach. I may stop and watch the surfers in wet suits, some of them kite surfing.
|Sutro Park, looking down to Ocean Beach|
|The Thinker, at Legion Of Honor Museum|
|Windmill in the Golden Gate Park|
As usual, I will go across the Golden Gate Bridge, driving north to Sausalito and then over to the redwood forests. I like to go to Muir Beach, where Naomi and I visited, and I set up my easel and make a painting on the hillside by the coast, where I can look out over wildflowers to the little cove and see the Pacific Ocean waves frothing white as they churn toward the shore.
I always go to art museums, and check out the current exhibitions. And there is a sushi restaurant I always return to, and the Japanese chef is at the bar . . . it is a family business . . . and I notice how everything is the same; the wooden tables, the view to the street, the sushi bar with it's delicacies in view, and the same guy, aging little by little, year by year, but cordial and smiling as ever.
|The hills along the Pacific Ocean near Muir Beach|
When Naomi was with me, we were like candles burning at both ends. Each day we sought magic and healing, and though she was dying, I could see how she relished the moments she had left. For me, always next to her, every moment had a special poignancy, so when I go back, now, years later, the poignancy comes from touching familiar places that summon all my feeling from memories.