I was born in San Francisco and, during my long times away while living elsewhere, fondly remembered the murmurs and moans, the whistles and bells of foghorns in the morning, and the sight of beautiful Twin Peaks in the middle of the city. The Spanish called them the breasts of the Virgin.
I had been living and working in Los Angeles for four years where I met the woman who was to become my second wife. We married and I eventually got a job in the Great Central Valley, less than two hours by car from San Francisco.
I waited until we had settled in our new home before we made the trip to visit my home town. This was in 1975.
As we broached the final pass over the ranges of hills separating the Valley from the City, I eagerly scanned the horizon for my beloved Twin Peaks. I saw them and was stricken with horror!
Dwarfing the lovely hills was an immense tower standing rigid and ugly on nearby Mt. Sutro. It interrupted and obliterated the contours of the hills, overpowering them and diminishing them into insignificance.
I was in a state of disbelief, then anger and anguish for about a half hour before I realized the Great God Television had commanded the city fathers and mothers to erect this excrescence without regard to the beauty it destroyed.
I fell out of love with San Francisco, my only emotional anchor in this physical world, as I traveled away from it, back and away again, since age nine.
I no longer vest my emotions in any one geographical setting. It isn’t a particular hill or mountain, or forest or seashore I love, it is all of them.
But then, I have made an exception for that place named Alaska. I have allowed myself to believe it is too vast and too harsh for man to destroy its primitive beauty, at least in my lifetime.
I return to find
the old place now imperfect.
what did I expect?
Cormack McCarthy said it all:
“You go back home and everything you wished was different is still the same, and everything you wished was the same is different.”
Yes, and you can’t step in the same river twice. Thanks for the comment, Eric…