San Francisco

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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Let the Fog Roll In

At the end of every summer, San Franciscans begin to look forward to the potential of the fall. You begin anticipate warm Indian summer days and weekends filled with festivals and just hanging out in Dolores Park. When that oppressive summer fog begins to recede, you’re not sad to see it go.

Months of sun and a little rain and much more sun go by and the fog stays away. You forget about it. And then one day it unexpectedly returns. And you are unexpectedly glad to see it. You like the way it engulfs the city like a long lost blanket. You like the way it dampens those loved and hated non-native Eucalyptus trees and their scent reminds you of San Francisco in the summer.

It’s a strange feeling to be happy to greet the fog. It’s like you’ve left the Bay Area behind. And now you’re just San Francisco. For now.