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Surfing in the City

Surfers at Fort Point, San Francisco

As a cargo ship passes underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, its orange red hue temporarily blends in with International Orange. A sailboat decorated with America’s Cup paraphernalia heeds to the ship, carefully avoiding the larger vehicle’s path as it steers toward the wider ocean. Alcatraz and the city skyline are distinct against the clear sky and azure waves tumble in and crash against the rocks that lead to the sea wall.

It’s a luscious day for sure, but not exactly a scene from a stereotypical surfing dream. Still, the water is full of surfers braving the chilly Pacific and the rocky shore to ride the waves. Shivering tourists walk up and gape in awe at them. They’ve probably found that this part of California is colder than they imagined, but the sight of surfers surely lives up to California dreams.

I watch too. Although I’ve seen surfers numerous times, I’ve never seem them this close to shore. I notice how the surfers communicate with each other and with the water. When a wave is coming, they call out to people who can catch it. And when it’s their turn, they ride with grace for as long as possible, turning and sinking back into the water before they reach the rocks. From the shore, it looks like an admirable way to be completely in tune with what’s around you and a perfect balance of power and harmony.

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The Great Golden Gate

I never get tired of this bridge. There’s the immensity of it, of course. There’s the flamboyant reddish orange of it that doesn’t blend in and makes it a fitting symbol for a city that’s known to harbor iconoclasm. There’s the expanse of water on the ocean side of it that infallibly leaves me in awe of the vastness of the sea and of the world and ignites my desire to explore. And there’s the fact that the more I see it, the more I realize that there are innumerable ways of looking at it.