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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Saturday, December 31, 2005

on a clear day

On clear fall and winter days in the East Bay you can hike up the hills and see the Farallon Islands rising like stone giants over the Golden Gate bridge. The Farrallones are 27 miles off the coast and are usually shrouded in thick fog and marine layer. It's a reward, hiking up the steep East Bay hills through eucalyptus groves...and shadowed by flitting jays and juncos...to arrive, at last, at a view of the entire Bay. And there, just on the horizon, rise the stone pyramids of the Farallones in the Pacific..matching in shape Mt. Tamalpais, the Twin Peaks of San Francisco, or the human-made towers of the Golden Gate Bridge and the TransAmerica Pyramid.

Site of the Egg War and shipwrecks and seal hunting, the Farallones, for as remote and pure as they seem, have only lately returned to their "quieter" natural state. They are home to pinnipeds, petrels, puffins, auklets and murres, not to mention a natural breeding grounds of the Great White Shark, and a waypoint for whales on their way around Point Reyes to the north.

I often take that steep hike, up, out of the backyards of Berkeley. And when it's clear, it's like a gift. The whole Bay, the whole of the cities of the East Bay spread out below....streets and places and cars and people...kind of like a hiking version of what you feel in New York, when you get to the top of the Empire State...hey, I've been there, and there, and there..and that corner too.

Today I realized that the Farallones are like our political ideals...out there...on the horizon. Just beyond where we live and work and play. Some days we can see them, other days we can't. Once in awhile we climb that hill and look out...taking in both the imperfect city, full of traffic and bustle, and the islands, their natural counterparts, full of the organic flux of cormorants flexing and fishing and the brashness of the society of seals.

Like the Farallones, which will remain, at least in the human time frame, just on the very horizon of San Francisco Bay...we never really "reach" our ideals...but once and awhile, when the weather is right...we can look out at them, we can consider their perfection...and then turn and return to our imperfect city, its people, its realities...its visceral humanity...with a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Our task, in the end, is not to take the city to the Farallones...but instead to take that 'golden vision' and burn it into our work and our days.

{Reposted because it's better than anything I could write today about that "end of the year vision thing"}

Enjoy, and have a happy and safe New Year!

kid o.

3 Comments:

  • Of course today is cloudy and stormy.

    Santa gave me U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb...good music for a rainy day...

    I kinda like the anthem...track #10 "Original of the Species"...

    everywhere you go you shout it
    you don't gotta be shy about it
    ...

    or something like that....

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 12:32 PM  

  • I never heard about the Egg War until now. Thanks for that tidbit of local lore.

    By Blogger Scaramouche, at 2:08 PM  

  • Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of the DailyKos is on record* calling the Democrats in 1994 “a totally corrupted party.” That is an outrageous and defamatory statement, and Moulitsas should issue a quick retraction and full apology.

    A totally corrupted party? That would necessarily include Democrats in the U.S House of Representatives in 1994, such as Nancy Pelosi, Ronald Dellums, Henry Waxman, Jane Harman, Patricia Schroeder, John Lewis, Barney Frank, Joe Kennedy, Edward Markey, John Conyers, and John Murtha, among many others.

    It would also include Democratic members of the U.S Senate in 1994, including Barbara Boxer, Bill Bradley, Robert Byrd, Russell Feingold, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Paul Simon, and Paul Wellstone, among many other senators.

    Also included in the Democratic Party in 1994 was a little-known governor in a small northeastern state, Howard Dean. Were they all “totally corrupted?”

    Moulitsas inexplicably says they were. Whether it was simply a poor choice of words, a deeply held belief, or a cynical ploy to sell books, he owes all Democrats an explanation and a sincere apology.

    * http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10629288/site/newsweek/

    “That is what happened to the Democrats in 1994. We were the corrupt party then. It was not pretty being a Democrat. But it took Democrats 30 years to become a totally corrupted party and it took the GOP only 10 years.”

    By Blogger Politus, at 3:54 PM  

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