This post marks 185 days in a row on which I’ve posted at least one new post. That’s more than half a year of steady posts, even if this were a leap year…which it’s not :-).
My heart is full of gratitude for all of you wonderful readers: you who get alerts and read every post, like most, comment on many; you who have landed here today for the very first time; you who know the three-dimensional me; you who don’t. Deep gratitude, in as many colors and and styles as my friend Bev’s magnificent cookies. (Not to rub it in, but…they actually taste as least as good as they look. Just sayin’.)
so much world, so little time will be taking a break after this. Be healthy, be hopeful, be kind.
If you’ve visited our pages in the past, you’ll have seen many photos taken in and from Annadel State Park. All of these photos fall into that category, most taken on a lovely, long, meandering solo hike with which I greeted this new year. Some of these were taken on later visits. Many are taken in the southerastern quadrant of the park, an area I’ve not visited since it was badly burned during the Nuns Fire in late 2017. This is partly because trails were closed for many months and then I was out of the country; partly because I was worried about what I’d see; partly because I usually bike into the park, and try to avoid the smaller trails during mud season, to help reduce erosion. Be that as it may: herewith a sense of what we see when we explore our closest park here, three years after this part of the park burned. To be clear – the shot above here shows you Mt St Helena and the Mayacmas range, north of Annadel, all of which were affected by two different fires: the Tubbs, also in 2017; and the Glass, just last year. I’ve put plenty of photos up which show you the ridges of the Mayacamas which have now been twice burned in three years. The charred trees you’ll see further down were burned in the Nuns, not those other two fires. If any of my readers are still acting as though one can doubt or question the science of climate change…hello?
That’s Hayes Valley Grill, a dine-in, power-lunch or dinner institution near City Hall, the symphony and opera at the top of Hayes Valley. I’m told it plans to reopen, once dining indoors is again possible. Below are a bunch of shots I took during walks in various neighborhoods at the end of January. Not to be depressing, but realistic – like I said before, I think the city’s response to covid, both public and individual-behavior, has demonstrated some good models that other places might consider. But covid does cost us all, both immediately and, no doubt, in longer-terms impacts we’ll all be tracing for many years. Investing in good public health is the best way to manage such epidemics, but the influence of money and greed on the voters and politicians in the US have mostly strangled reasonable evidence-based discussions on public-policy and many other things here. Let’s hope we can nonetheless manage to build back with better opportunity and protections for as many humans as possible everywhere, despite the damage of money, greed, and the politics of division. Human ingenuity has proven in the past that we really can create rising tides which float a lot of boats, as long as we view it as collective success, rather than individual competition…
It strikes me that SF has been impressively well-organized and smart in both its public-policy and its personal-behavior response to covid. I believe this is reflected in its infection numbers per 100,000 residents. The JHU site told me it was at 3,731. This is far fewer cases per 100,000 than any of the other major US cities or counties I’ve checked. Atlanta’s DeKalb & Fulton counties, for example – home of the CDC itself – have well over 7,000 cases per 100,000 residents. NYC’s Manhattan island (New York County), is actually doing better than those two Atlanta-region counties, with 5,681 per 100,000 – despite NYC’s rough, rough start. NYC and SF also share the distinction of being among the most densely-populated urban centers in the US. Cities like Atlanta and Los Angeles tend to sprawl, and I’m quite confident that they had far lower rates of public-transit ridership than either SF or NYC, even before covid.
I don’t want to turn this into a public-health treatise, so I’ll stop there. My goal is to share photos which highlight some of the personal behaviors and public rules which have helped keep infection rates comparatively low in SF. If we close off our ability to study and learn, even from those with whom we see ourselves as quite different, then our ability to adapt really will freeze and that will spell trouble. I was in SF for most of a week at the end of January, just as the city was reopening its outdoor-dining options, as well as personal-grooming facilities like the barbershop which you’ll see below. (Note that everyone is lining up on the sidewalk outside, not waiting indoors and sharing air with each other.) I don’t think anyone in California has eaten an indoor restaurant meal since last March – or at least, not anyone following the public-health rules. But at least now we can meet our friends for outdoor dining again, and we are. I know this is currently impossible in places with harder winters, and that fact forces more difficult choices for individuals, businesses, and public-policy-makers. There again, I’d look to the attitude we’ve mostly adopted in the bay area: we’re all in this together, and we all need to help protect each other and the most vulnerable among us.
A few comments about the photos: I was happy to see that the playground at Mission Dolores Park, at the very top, was open for kids to play in – I’m not sure whether or not it was closed during the heavier restrictions, but it’s nice to see kids playing and to hear their shouts of delight. Here in Santa Rosa, most playgrounds I’ve seen have been officially closed, which makes me quite sad. SFPL is doing what our SoCo library is doing: reserve your items online, and do a touchless pickup and / or return. Returned materials are then quarantined for a few days. You’ll also see a touchless coffee pickup table for the mobile coffee truck in Alamo Square Park.
Although trees around where I stood when I took this shot *did* burn in the Nuns fire in 2017, the “burn” part of this photo is on the Mayacamas ridge in the distance – which, when I took this photo late last year, had just been burned again in the Glass Fire, after experiencing the Tubbs fire in 2017 at the same time as the south side of the valley, from which I took this photo, was burning in the Nuns fire. I remind us again that Santa Rosa hadn’t seen major immediately close forest fires for a few decades prior to 2017. Now we realize that with climate change, this is our life, and we rather desperately hope that both public and private policy and behaviors will speed their pace of change while we can still reduce the longer-term impacts on future generations and livability on the planet…
Admit it: your first thought is this is part of some crumbling old building’s brick wall, right? Wrong! You’ve already seen another angle on this item, in a post last month, here: https://somuchworldsolittletime.com/2021/01/01/12443/#jp-carousel-12467