There are few things I enjoy more than walking in cities.
Walking around an urban area is, for me, about the journey rather than the destination. It’s not about getting from point A to point B but about seeing what’s between them. Walking the streets of city is about absorbing the unfolding narrative of the polis.
I’m in San Francisco today for a conference at Fort Mason Center. I drove up to Oakland last night, stayed there, and took BART over to the city early this morning. Where I was going is nowhere near BART station, and as I did when I was here last year, I decided to walk rather than take a connecting bus. So at 7 AM I came out of the Montgomery Street station and walked into the heart of downtown San Francisco.
If I’d been in a car or a bus, I wouldn’t have noticed the transitions from banks to Chinese restaurants to Italian places as I walked along Montgomery and Columbus. I wouldn’t have gotten a glimpse of Alcatraz as the sun peeked over the western hills, or seen the Golden Gate Bridge peering out of the morning fog. I wouldn’t have walked past a restaurant near Coit Tower that I ate at more than a dozen years ago and thought “wait a minute, I remember that place.” I wouldn’t have gotten to see the morning athletes out for a training run or bike ride along the waterfront. And I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to sit on a dew-kissed bench on Fort Mason Green and watch a flock of Canada geese avoid the rotating sprinklers in a great grassy oasis with the apartment- and tree-covered hills in the background while I wrote this post.
Today was a good day for, as Gwen put it, a morning ramble.