It’s July 30 and that old familiar feeling is back–that something has been lost and that time has gotten away. The shadows, creeping slowly toward longer, remind me that these things too fall apart, even when they do so with love and care.
We spent the weekend in San Francisco with friends we’ve known many years. We go every year toward the middle or later part of summer and it’s always a joy. This time, the trip included the surprise of sailing out on San Francisco Bay while the America’s cup trials were going on. The Oracle boat, nearly an alien space ship by design, whizzed by us at unimaginable speed–soundless but for the wind and the calls of crew members to each other. The water and air were split seconds later by the chase power-boats with giant throaty engines.
Sunlight flitted away mostly as thick gray folds of summer fog blanketed the bay, but as we made our way north of Alcatraz, a few brief glints of golden rays shone through. The warmth was welcome. And apparently-no, Mark Twain didn’t say that.
When we made fast at the dock on Pier 39, the roar and bark of the sea lions greeted us and we walked through the throngs to Ghirradelli Square for a hot chocolate and a quiet seat on the patio people watching.
Lisa and David and their daughter, Shannon’s friend, Karina, are the epitome of great hosts. They saw to it that a short weekend vacation was every bit of it a chance to decompress, reconnect and enjoy the time. Perfect. Later, sitting on the patio by a fire pit table, sipping wine and talking late into the summer night as the breeze brought in cool night air, softening the hard hot edges of a day in the East Bay.
Of all the powerful moments, meeting again with my good friend Father Ron Culmer was high on the list.. Ron and I were friends in college and we haven’t seen each other for that long. He’s an Episcopal priest now, married with two kids, one of whom graduated from our alma mater two years ago. Time has indeed marched on and shadows are indeed getting longer. We didn’t have much time, but we promised to connect again soon and spend more of it together.
Ron introduced me to wine lo these many years ago. He was the first guy to tell me that there was something more here than alcohol–something more than just a cheap thrill. There was story and there was art. I have a photograph of Ron and me by the side of a road in Los Olivos near a cow pasture. It remains one of my favorite pictures and I got to see Ron again. We’ve both changed a great deal–and not at all.
At the heart of it is just another moment in a summer that has reacquainted me with people I love, living different lives and moving through life in ways that are beautiful and evanescent. It’s an enjoyable time.
And it’s going by too fast.