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Monday, August 29, 2005


I went up to the Legion of Honor Sunday to finally see what this museum had to offer.
Unfortunately it was closed. So instead, I listened to some guitar music which was entertaining the guests for a Jewish wedding taking place in front of the museum. I looked briefly at the holocaust memorial and then headed off to the golf course and onto the paths through the Juniper trees that led to the trails on the cliffs.
I'm always annoyed by "trail closed" signs. I don't like the idea that one can open and close a trail like one can a convenience store or museum. The one I saw was particularly intriguing: "Trail closed- Warning, People have fallen to their death". So of course I had to go check it out. There were plenty of footprints, so clearly I wasn't the only one who didn't think much of disobeying these signs. I climbed up a small trail on a hill and saw the Golden Gate Bridge, and there was another sign at the cliff edge naming the area Dead Man's Cliff or something like that, again warning that people had fallen to their death.
All in all, its satisfying to find myself amongst these signs. Not that I actually come that close to the edge of the cliffs, but its like finding a mystery. I saw a crumpled bicycle several hundred feet down probably that someone had pushed over the edge.

Why do I wander? (And I do it a lot.) While driving down 280 today, I was looking longingly into the distant hills. What do I think I'll find there? I pictured myself more concretely walking or sitting in the dirt amongst the bushes and realized that the mystery probably wouldn't be there. Like the pot of gold at the base of the rainbow.
My dad once said about me that I like being lost. Its true, but mainly just means dissatisfaction- in getting lost is the possibility of finding something better.

Driving home after my somewhat satisfying wanderings, I stopped by a European grocery store and bought some candies and bread. I accidentally left the bread behind and was almost going to drive home without it, feeling tired and ready to stop walking and driving. Then I thought of the cashier (maybe the owner, was she German, Russian- I can't remember) and how hot and fresh the bread was and that they probably take pride in their bread. I didn't want to be a wasteful American, so I went back. And I was right- I was thanked very warmly for coming back for the bread.

So I was happy about some of the things I'd found. Part of the wandering lifestyle means being in the desert at times, being stuck in far off places, being uncomfortable, being lonely.
I'd like to say that its all worth it, but I think its better not to glamorize one's defects. You use them and live with them and make the most of them and maybe they can offer something to someone else, but one shouldn't forget how personal and specific to you they are.

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