Last week I took an impromptu trip to San Francisco. My girlfriend called and told me she wanted to go visit her grandson and family and I asked who she was going with. "I'm calling to see if you want to go?" "Okay when?" "Tomorrow" she relied……ah okay. So I quickly tied up loose ends and we met to figure out just which mode of transportation to take…
I have to say I loved taking the train, I read and slept and looked out the window at the dry hillsides…
and sometimes bodies of water so large it felt like we were on a ship. I looked in the ditches at the blackbirds and marsh birds, herons and egrets as we clickty clacked our way north.
We stayed in a comfortable Victorian apartment three stories up and off the main street,
We stayed in the Mission District so naturally we visited The mission. This one is called The Mission San Francisco de Asis, but is mostly referred to as the Mission Dolores.
This mission was the 6th in the chain of California missions, founded in 1776 by Father Serra.
As with all California missions, it is Spanish in style, having been the decision by the King of Spain at the time to build them and civilize the native people. grumble, grumble All politics aside, the missions are beautiful, I'm sure their *mission was sincere but I can't get over how we forced ourselves on this country.
I happen to be reading Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn. If you haven't read it you might want to, it's very interesting and enlightening.
I love this statue of Father Serra out in the garden/cemetery, really the most sincere part of the mission. He looks reflective, a pose perfectly in tune with the setting.
A pirate perhaps!
Hundreds of, orchids in every form and color colud be discovered hanging, trailing and clinging…
Strange and VERY strange plants stared out from every crevice and corner.
Some kind of death flower, I can't remember if it was an orchid…..these oddities abounded, I loved this place, the collection was remarkable.
bromeliads, tillandsias, waterlilies ferns
Hanging pitchers…. The plants are cup shaped to collect water and detritus in order to lure their prey. One of them had a sticky sweet substance around the rim that looked like mildew to attract small birds who liked to eat it, the bird subsequently eliminated in the cup and the plant was fed. Nature never ceases to astound!
Plant ladies :)
Next stop, de Young Museum…. there was a Modernism show in the main gallery we decided to pass on it but we did go up the tower which is free and it gives a 360 degree view of the city.
I love this shot of the man who never stopped washing the windows and the little girl who never stopped adding her hand prints. He looks armed and I wondered if he wanted to spray her and just get it over with :)
The iconic bridge in the fog..
The arboretum was wonderful, I've never seen such a collection of impatiens. It is too sunny and dry here to grow this African native that seemed completely happy growing by the bay.
We walked for hours, and it felt good, we looked at a rather rangy collection of California natives way out on the perimeter of the huge garden, the matilija poppies were about 8 feet tall, swaying and fluttering in the in the wind like Spanish dancers in ruffly, white skirts.
I spied a Night Heron hunting by the light of day….
He moved on the water like an automaton, ever so slowly lifting a foot closing the toes and without so much as a ripple, gently taking a step, thi chi style.
A sudden quick stab at the water and dinner!
Oh, and there was the baby, the delightful baby and his wonderful parents. We even got to babysit for a few hours one night, it was lovely!
I visited my stone guy yesterday and I have itchy fingers, I'm looking forward to studio time! We are tending milkweed in our home garden " The Butterfly Project" as we're calling it and so far it is a booming success, more on that later.
Wishing you all a joyful summer!