I made it up to San Francisco this past June for the Pride celebration. I love SF. The first time I went was the Summer before eighth grade (Or maybe it was the summer after). I had protested the war in Iraq on a Hemet Street Corner (this was before my brother went to fight in that war) and decided I was akin to the Hippies of the 1960s. I desperately wanted to see the Haight, to visit a place that was historically crawling with people who believed in Love.
I made my parents take me as soon as we checked into our hotel, which we did after 8 hours of driving. We didn’t make it to the Haight until about 10pm, but still they took me. My father had been taken on a similar trip when he was that age by his own parents. He went during the Summer of Love though. The Haight-Ashbury he had seen was very different from the one I saw, but still somehow the same, I’m sure.
I remember seeing people, homeless 20-somethings, asking passersby for money, smoking pot near the front of a closed store. I remember going to a coffee shop full of those angel-headed hipsters I secretly related to so much. I remember walking by a few bars. Nothing of particular interest, but still the place itself captured me. We went back the next day to see it in the daylight. It was just as wonderful. As a 12 year old, there was much more for me to do there during the day. We went into shops, tourist-hippy boutiques and record stores.
From that first experience, I was enchanted by the city. I returned again in high school with a choir, then my best friend moved there for university and I visited her every year. I’ve never had an uneventful trip.
This most recent trip was no exception. It was a trip, a journey, a growing experience, a vacation. I made new friends, reunited with old friends, and of course reconnected with my soul sister. On my last day in the city, we went to the Botanical Garden. Neither of us had ever been before, even though she has lived a few miles from it for the bigger chunk of a decade.
It was magical–just as captivating as every other little piece of that city I’ve experienced through the years. San Francisco truly has a piece of my heart. I treasure, so dearly, every person I’ve met, place I’ve been and memory I’ve made. San Francisco–my home away from home. The place I’ve gone to leave my life and find my Self since I was young.
I wanted to share some photos from the Botanical Gardens. Little blooming miracles, overgrown magic portals, and nature’s reflective wisdom.