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Falling in love: Enjoying the changes

A San Francisco anniversary story
Happy Valentine's Day

The symbol for a fifth wedding anniversary is wood.

Solid, reliable, durable, yet malleable wood, subject to weathers of passion (freezing cold, burning fires, excessive moisture), and so, with passion, I’d like to announce that this new year, 2015, has Peter and me celebrating the wooden anniversary of our move to this new home city of ours.

Inconceivably, we are now beginning the fifth year of our living in San Francisco — five years (translating into over 50 Enter Stage Left columns for the Marina Times, by the way), and this fact gives further credence to the old notion that time flies when you’re having fun.

It seems impossible that five years have passed since we drove across country and deposited our selves, pups and all, in our first apartment on Lombard Street (see Marina Times, April 2011, “My Deal With Buddha: Getting the Piano Up the Stairs”).

Now, living here has not been all fun — oh no! There’ve been days of doubt, moments of mystery when I wondered why we left our familiar life on the East Coast, as well as hours of heartfelt confusion as I strove to learn my way around this multidimensional town, but there’s never been a moment of real regret.

Much like a marriage, there have been difficulties, (avoiding the obvious reference to San Francisco’s topography), and there’ve been emotional pulls, this way and that.

However, as when deciding to marry, we made a conscious choice — in this case, to change cities — and thankfully, we chose well.

So here we are, in this month of true love and Valentines, living a life we love, in a city we have a huge crush on.

Seems like something to celebrate, so what might be a good way to do that?

We could choose any of the marvelous things San Francisco has to offer on the Day of Hearts, like enjoying cocktails and the view from the Top of The Mark (intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com) — how much more classic San Francisco can you get? – or we could take in a concert at SFJazz Center, something Peter and I love to do whenever we get the chance (sfjazz.org). We could go enjoy The Bay Lights illuminating the bay bridge, the work of artist Leo Villareal, by dining at any one of the good restaurants in that vicinity (epicroasthouse.com, or waterbarsf.com). Or we might attend the evening at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens and roam among the gentle areas of the Exhibition Garden and sip relaxing concoctions there. (SFBotanicalGarden.org). That particular Valentine’s Day evening, there is a Magnolias by Moonlight tour, specially guided by one of the garden’s naturalists.

We could attend Berkeley Rep to see the world premier of X’s and O’s (A Football Love Story), written by KJ Sanchez with Jenny Mercein, directed by Tony Taccone (berkeleyrep.org). We could also sail the San Francisco Bay (bluendgoldfleet.com) or bicycle around the various bridges (blazingsaddles.com), though I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work that hard.

Instead, in the face of all these Valentine’s Day riches, I’m inspired by a gift I received at holiday time: a DYI-grow-your-own redwood tree kit. It’s sitting right in front of me as I write: a thickly cut burl of redwood, surrounded, as instructed, by an inch or so of water in a shallow bowl, and it’s made me think of this idea to celebrate our fifth anniversary of living here: Spend a day at Muir Woods!

Because Peter probably can’t get Valentine’s Day off from his job (I’ve always thought it should be required, in the name of Love, that all work be suspended on that day, but alas, there’s been no general agreement on that), I will deliver a basket of cookies, with an invitation to my husband to join me for a tour I’ve read about (extranomical.com) , and perhaps we shall spend a day roaming through the redwoods.

Those gorgeous giants will make us feel small, but they will also remind us that certain things endure; maybe not forever, but certainly beyond normal expectations. The redwoods do change — everything changes — but in those changes, like in our move to San Francisco five years ago, there lies growth.

Lots of it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, San Francisco.

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