san francisco from the hills


One day a few of us went up to the hills to watch the sun set over the bay and this was the view. The spider-webbed etchings of a bridge in the distance is the Golden Gate. Berkeley is in the foreground and San Francisco is across the bay. This is a good place and I miss it tonight.


our living task


Some miscellany today:

Home now and missing all the blue. California won me over. I knew it would.

I have decided that all I want for my birthday is a kayak. The parents are a bit skeptical about this idea for a variety of reasons (conversations tend towards drowning and price tags). But I am convinced that my life would be 95% happier if I had a kayak. Well, not really. But you know. (I would also be content with a Holga, tickets to Sigur Ros, or a Frankie subscription. Just saying.)

In holier and less materialistic thoughts, this has been on my mind a lot:

"I draw breath; that is of course to wish
No matter what, to be wise,
To be different, to die and the cost,
No matter how, is Paradise
Lost of course and myself owing a death:
The eager ridge, the steady sea,
The flat roofs of the fishing village
Still asleep in its bunny,
Though as fresh and sunny still, are not friends
But things to hand, this ready flesh
No honest equal but my accomplice now,
My assassin to be, and my name
Stands for my historical share of care
For a lying self-made city,
Afraid of our living task, the dying
Which the coming day will ask."
[w.h. auden, from horae canonicae]

Those last two lines. I think I need to put them in a frame above my bed.

Also: summer songs so far are THIS, this, this, and this.

[photo of the sunset at the lake]


california is blue

Jess asked me the other day what color I thought described California. Blue, all blue, I think. 

Pictures, from top left: [1] the sky at Point Reyes, [2] a beach along Highway 1, [3] Yosemite sky and pines, and [4] sunset over the San Francisco Bay.

You know, there are a lot of almost-perfects in the world. And most of them include something blue.


ten good things


I usually do this when I need to focus on the good things (when the bad things seem overwhelming, I mean), but right now, I feel like I could type out a list of a hundred good things.

01. lunch today at chez panisse (especially the apricot galette)
02. the daddio, whose birthday is today, and for the way he loves so well
03. the lady who stopped me on the street to complement my ring
04. getting to do things I've always wanted to do, like going backpacking and going to yosemite
05. seeing the pacific upside down (the best way to see it)
06. staring at degas ballerina etchings in the underground museum collections
07. extraordinary hospitality from so many dear friends
08. handwritten letters
09. hope for what's ahead, especially the morning room and uganda
10. and this: "the way God still waits for us, beyond the limits of our fullest grace" (this poet)

[a film shot from our trip to point reyes]


on prayer | 4

[A little collection of quotes & things on prayer.]

"The very question 'Does prayer work?' puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the outset. 'Work,' as if it were magic, or a time machine--something that functions automatically. Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows himself to us. That he answers prayers is a corollary--not necessarily the most important one--from that revelation. What he does is learned from what he is."

(C.S. Lewis, The Efficacy of Prayer)


dear yosemite



One of my dreams for my Californian trip was to go to Yosemite. And thanks to some dear friends and an early morning squished in a pick-up truck listening to horror stories about deaths in Yosemite, I got to go last week. And gracious, what a place. Someday I want to go back and hike Half Dome.
Dear Yosemite

I walked your stairs to glory.

I breathed your aurulent haze,
and your sky-flung pines
stigmatized my longing,
as I ascended your heights.

But heaven is not here,
at least, not now,
not yet.

And I descend your deflated walls,
readdressing the world--

and try again, with this:

Dear Fern,
Dear Pebble,
Dear Pine Needle.