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Friday Slide Show: Fisherman's Wharf Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

1 April 2016

When we saw the crab boat lights on the ocean at sunset the other evening we knew the week wouldn't end without a visit to Fisherman's Wharf. We packed our camera bag on Wednesday but ran out of time. And were ready to go again yesterday when we were buried under end-of-the-month work.

But today we got an early start, taking the streetcar downtown and dropping briefly into the Mechanics' Institute to see what was new before we rode a historic F trolley to Fisherman's Wharf.

We've been coming here since we were little.

So we were thrilled to be there again today with a little camera that we enjoy using and the bright sun shining on the working wharf, the crab boiling in pots and being cracked and cleaned, the sea lions barking, the gulls posing, the ice melting on the docks after the catch had been delivered, the little restaurants with their peeling paint and, yes, the tourists taking it all in.

When you love a place and have a camera you like to photograph that place, you don't need heaven to be happy.

Ours wasn't the only camera. We were happy to see a lot of dSLRs and a few digicams outnumbering the smartphones. And there were plenty of smartphones.

When you love a place and have a camera you like to photograph that place, you don't need heaven to be happy. You don't feel cold when the wind picks up and you don't feel hungry watching other people eat. You can't help but smile and put your eye to the viewfinder and see the world you love smile back at you.

At the Mechanics' Institute we found a little novel by Paolo Giordano that's a tribute to the woman who served as a domestic to his family. We took it with us and read it on the way home.

In the novel, the domestic Mrs. A. is given the nickname Babette when she cooks a sumptuous meal for the family at her own home one weekend, surprising them with her culinary skill. But she didn't get the reference.

So we told her the story, and Mrs. A. was moved listening to it, envisioning herself as the chef who'd left the Café Anglais to serve the two spinsters and then spent all her money preparing an unforgettable feast for them. She dabbed her eyes with the edge of her apron and quickly turned away, pretending to be doing something.

And then spent all her money doing something she loved.

We put the book down and thought about that as the bus climbed the hill through the Presidio on the way home.

Marshalling your resources to do something you love rather than foregoing what you love to marshal some resources. It was how we had been fortunate enough to spend the day, working on this little slide show for Photo Corners, pursuing a dream.

But not just us, of course. All of us, in some measure, pursue an elusive dream always hovering out of reach just over our heads, as Joseph Conrad put it in Romance:

How often the activity of our life is the least real part of it! Life, looked upon as a whole, presents itself to my fancy as a pursuit with open arms of a winged and magnificent dream, hovering just over our heads and casting its glory upon our hopes. It is in this simple vision, which is one and enduring, and not in the changing facts, that we must look for meaning and for truth.

Those lights on the ocean remind us to pursue our dream even as it sleeps in the deep darkness of the sea. And someday, perhaps, the crowds will come to enjoy a feast they might not otherwise even imagine.

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