Sunday, glorious Sunday. SmartWool layers, beanie, gloves, audible playing, legs pumping, wind in face, ocean ahead. Slow down for swing with Lindy in the Park. Past the Botanical Gardens (Kew for me), turn around, downhill from here. Long-legged rollerbladers strutting their stuff, grown men playing with toy boats, tatanka roaming unfree. Beach Chalet and the smart casual set. Surfer lost…again.
Java Beach Cafe, my funky caffeine temple, bike bolted, in line to choose, flashes of flesh spooning hot, steamy milk. I like this place. Oatmeal, extra raisins, medium cappuccino, non-fat. Middle-aged man, PricewaterhouseCoopers sweatshirt, The Complete Works of Plato. “Heavy reading for Sunday morning” I said. “Never read any Plato before, I found it outside on the street. It’s amazing what people throw away.” Young Turk reading The Odyssey. Must be literary Sunday. “Coincidence”, I said. “I’m listening to Ulysses by James Joyce. It has the same structure as The Odyssey.” “Is it good”, he asks. “Yes”, I reply. “It’s good.”
My favorite stretch, riding the raised path along The Great Highway, looking down on wild expanse of Ocean Beach, white caps breaking over human seals waiting for the big one. Pelican formations sail overhead like silent Blue Angels, while sculptured cheeks rush backwards towards me…me. Turn by zoo, animals pouring in two by two. Around Lake Merced, crews rowing, coxswain calling, I know what it’s about, I’ve read The Boys in the Boat. Honking geese as phantom shots bark from dead gun club. Dreams of scarcely clad Ohlones collecting tules. Up the hill, homeward.
“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.” James Joyce