Tag Archives: nature

San Francisco: Where the Bison Roam

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I’m back in San Francisco for good (for now), and from hereon out, I will continue to do what I do most often/best, which is write about daily experiences in a way that is humorous and hopefully touching. Since I’m San Francisco based, I will most often write about the things I see and do in this city.

Speaking of which, there’s something you should know about. Some of you might already know about it. Others have heard but think it’s a false rumor. Still others of you will have no idea what I’m talking about. Most will have stopped reding altogether and are looking for new gifs to send their co-workers.

I’m talking about the bison that right now, at this very moment in time, no matter when you’re reading this even if it’s far into the future or even just tomorrow, that there are bison right now quietly grazing in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Some of them are lying down. One might be pooping or thinking about it. Another is standing looking out at the trees that are probably clouded in fog. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re there.

The rumors and park signage about bison in Golden Gate Park are true. They’re there and I have now seen them for myself, with my own eyes.

I was out for one of my now-regular morning jogs and it was almost time to turn around and go back to the house but I’d seen something recently about the bison and they were on my mind. Perhaps I would make my way to the famed Bison Paddock.

Besides, I thought to myself, I don’t really have anything to get back to, so I might as well explore the northwestern side of Golden Gate park which I believed was mostly a myth.

But it is myth no longer. I ventured farther and farther into the unknown regions of the park. I saw a sign for the Bison Paddock, so I knew I was close. I wondered what other scenarios would be appropriate to use the word paddock in. I got tired of running.

Then the road forked and went on a slight incline and all of the sudden I was above a field that spread out to my right and there they were, the giant shaggy beasts that used to roam the plains and make thunder with their hooves. There were about eight of them, gently grazing in the paddock like Twitter had never even been invented.

It was the essence of serenity, just watching these animals graze, totally absorbed in the ground right at their feet and unconcerned with anything else. It was beauty.

I reluctantly jogged on and at the next intersection, a man on a bike started yelling at a car just ahead of him, “Why the f***k are you sitting there?! Why the f***k are you just sitting there!?” The car was turning right and had a red light and a chance to turn but didn’t take it. I guess the biker was just in a hurry.

Maybe he could have learned a lesson from the bison on how to not be an asshole.

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A Night Drive in Late August

After everyone else has gone to sleep, when the house is quiet, the dishes are washed and all I can hear is the kitchen clock ticking and the ceiling fan, this is the time for the night drive. Instead of turning out the last light and brushing the teeth for bed, I put on my flip flops and grab the keys.

A night drive must not be taken too early in the evening. It should be no earlier than 10:30 and no later than sunrise. If it goes later than sunrise, it is no longer a night drive, is it? Night drives are best on clear nights. Something about being able to see the stars makes the road seem more free. There’s more space for the night soul to roam.

I pull out of the driveway and hear the garage door creak shut. I roll down the windows and turn off the radio. On night drives, I prefer only the sound of the crickets and the cicadas and the frogs from the forest and the wind rustling through the leaves. Sometimes I like to sing to myself too, but nature sounds more beautiful.

I pass through the nearly empty streets of my quiet suburban town, my old high school, the Wal-Mart I used to frequent, the soccer fields I played on. I leave the city’s center and am now on purely residential roads, the country byways between spacious housing developments. Trees line the road and my car goes up and down over the gentle hills, rolling past Chisolm creek and over the railroad tracks. Outside the sky looks purple and the air is perfect as it comes through the windows. It’s cool and smells like trees and soil.

I roll up to a stop sign and stop there for a good while. There’s no one else around. There’s no rush. I sit in perfect silence and listen to the outside. It’s an entire world. I want to get out and leave the car on the side of the road and lay down and watch the stars circle around overhead and listen to the forest soundtrack forever. I don’t think anything has sounded quite as beautiful as this. It’s a little heartbreaking.

But I stay in the car and drive a little longer, singing an Eagles song, going up and down on the road that moves on the hills and in between the trees on a night drive in late August.

“Take it to the limit, take it to the limit, one more time.” 

 

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Me and My Pet Bear Named Mouse

In lieu of writing more words today, I’d like to share with you a picture I drew of my new pet bear and I walking on an enchanted pathway of fruit through a forest filled with fruiting trees. My bear’s name is Mouse, and I’ve lost both of my feet as a result of the mystical journey. Nevertheless, I am happy to be alive and have a cool pet bear.

 

Pet Bear

 

 

 

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Don’t Judge Me, But This Blog Post Is Literally About Feelings.

Photo credit: Doug88888

Photo credit: Doug88888

God I can’t believe I’m  actually writing about this but I’ll just come out and say it.

I have feelings.

Some of them have names like happy, sad, or hungry. But some don’t. So I wanted to name, share and possibly eventually sell them.

And what I’ve done is this: described a (fictional) situation in which one might feel said feeling, named it and described where it is most often felt in the body.

Cavernbowel – the feeling of being alone and realizing you need to poop, often felt in large, empty, unfamiliar/professional spaces; felt in the bowels

I walk into the Museum of Natural Sciences in Chicago. It’s 3 pm in the afternoon on a Saturday, so the place should be packed. Instead, I find it completely deserted, the lobby’s empty and there is no sound in the atrium at all except for the air conditioner. I don’t know this, but the rapture has just occurred and I am left behind, staring into the glassy eyes of a stuffed wooly mammoth. Suddenly, I realize I need to poop. I feel ______.

Networkunease – a sense of impending social contact through social media, telecommunications or email; felt in the stomach

I’m sitting in bed on a Tuesday night, writing a to-do list in my spiral notebook. But I feel like I’m waiting for something, like I’m expecting a Facebook notification, text, LinkedIn message, tweet or email from some person I’ve met at some point in my life. I check my social sites, email, and phone repeatedly, waiting for something to happen, unsure of what it could be or why I feel that way. I feel ________.

Forbiddenbowel – the feeling of being somewhere you’re not supposed to be; felt in the bowels

The door to the church was unlocked, so I let myself in. I know I’m not supposed to be here, but I did it anyways. Candles are still lit around the altars and I can smell frankincense. I walk down to the front and my footsteps seem incredibly loud. My stomach feels kind of like sandpaper and I don’t want to be caught, even though I don’t have any specific ideas for what would happen if I were. I realize all of the sudden that I need to poop. I feel _______.

Photo credit: Sweet One

Photo credit: Sweet One

Characterdoubt – the feeling of being suddenly and completely unsure of who you are; felt in the stomach/upper abdomen

I did something mean, and I’m not sure why I did. In hindsight, it was completely out of character. I told Shawn’s secret to Rob and she ended up finding out. I was trying to impress him with office gossip, but now Shawn is hurt and in the end, I don’t know why I did it at all. Who am I? Am I the kind of person that just uses other people for dramatic fodder? I kind of want to vomit and forget about everything. I feel _________.

Romancevomit – a feeling of dread while waiting to see an old flame; felt in the upper chest/hands

I haven’t seen him for a while but we’re going to coffee in 30 minutes. The last time we talked we were romantically involved. I broke it off, and he wanted to keep it going. I think he was the only man I’ve ever really loved, but I don’t feel anything towards him now and when I read what we wrote each other, I can’t relate to the person I was then. The past and future are melting together and my head feels a little light. I have the urge to drink a lot of caffeine. I feel _________.

Zephyrnostalgia – the feeling of being in several memories at once, often triggered by the senses; felt in the head and the sides of the body

I’m walking on Folsom street, heading back to work from the Embarcadero. I pass by the restaurants and office complexes and walk underneath some trees of the variety that are popular for sidewalk trees. A cool breeze comes down over the hill and strikes my face and somehow reminds me of every place I’ve ever been where I felt that kind of breeze before – Bunny Lane, CO; The Esplanade, MA; Squirrel Lane, OK; And it’s like I’m in all those places again at once. I feel _______.

Photo credit:  cbowns

Photo credit: cbowns

Wonderminded – the feeling of having your conception of reality shaken; experienced as a hollow feeling in the entire body

I’m walking to Powell BART station after class. It’s Monday night and I do this almost every week. 5th street can be kind of sketchy, but I usually walk this way alone anyways and it’s not too bad – it’s only one block after all. I reach Market street and am only 15 feet or so away from the BART station entrance and I hear three gunshots from across the street in front of the Forever 21.

I’m paralyzed. I think maybe I should drop to the ground, but instead I half jog to the entrance and start going down the stairs as quickly as I can. My heart is pounding and I feel like my insides are made of electricity. I’m about half-way through the hallway when three men sprint around the corner and come right at me. I’m against the wall, imagining them taking out a gun and just ending me right there. They pass by and sprint up the steps. I don’t think they even saw me. Three police officers chase after them, and I’m left alone in the hallway. Something I thought could never happen has just happened. I feel ______.

Joyexpansion – a feeling of utter joy that everything is right in the world and very beautiful; felt in the face and chest

I’m at Duboce park and it’s November 16th. The sky is perfectly clear, dogs are running around the park with their owners who are laughing and there are leaves on the ground. The air feels like an apple would feel if it were in air form. It seems that life truly is beautiful beyond description. I feel ________.

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Some Words from John Muir, the Most Annoying Nature Lover in the World

John Muir

John Muir: Scotsman, nature lover, beard-grower

I thought I loved nature until I (partially) read My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir. There’s a reason this guy started one of the foremost nature clubs in the world. He’s wild for nature. So wild, his passion occasionally branches into the ridiculous.

In the book, he’s routinely describing pine cones or a certain tree for an entire page, bursting with exclamations on nature’s beauty, talking in dismissive tones about his shepherd companion, or wishing he could stay awake all night to watch the stars. Don’t take my word for it, though.  Here are some passages that I feel best demonstrate the heart of his book.

All quotes are exact and taken from My First Summer in the Sierra, which John Muir wrote while traveling in the Sierra Mountains one summer in the early 20th century.

His (low and slightly threatening) opinion of other mountain travelers:  

“Somehow most of these travelers seem to care but little for the glorious objects about them, though enough to spend time and money and endure long rides to see the famous valley. And when they are fairly within the mighty walls of the temple and hear the psalms of the falls, they will forget themselves and become devout. Blessed, indeed, should be every pilgrim in these holy mountains.”

On what he’d do in the morning if he always followed his inclinations:

“Cooking is going on, appetites growing keener every day. No lowlander can appreciate the mountain appetite, and the facility with which heavy food called “grub” is disposed of. Eating, walking, resting, seem alike delightful, and one feels inclined to shout lustily on rising in the morning like a crowing cock.”

“Exhilarated with the mountain air, I feel like shouting this morning with excess of wild animal joy.”

On showing proper use of the word, “hark:”

“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality. Yonder rises another white skyland. How sharply the yellow pine spired and the palm-like crowns of the sugar pines are outlined on its smooth white domes. And hark! The grand thunder billows booming, rolling from ridge to ridge, followed by the faithful shower.”

On how to describe the sun’s transitions:

“And the dawns and sunrises and sundowns of these mountain days—the rose light creeping higher among the stars, changing to daffodil yellow, the level beams bursting forth, streaming across the ridges, touching pine after pine, awakening and warming all the mighty host to do gladly their shining day’s work. The great sun-gold noons, the alabaster cloud-mountains, the landscape beaming with consciousness like the face of a god. The sunsets, when the trees stood hushed awaiting their good-night blessings.”

On the night sky:

“Lying beneath the firs, it is glorious to see them dipping their spires in the starry sky, the sky one vast lily meadow in bloom! How can I close my eyes on so precious a night?”

If that doesn’t make you want to crow lustily at some alabaster skyscapes, I don’t know what will. Drugs, probably.

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