Going for a Walk
I am from San Francisco. I know the surface of the city so well that I don't see it anymore. The other day while hiking in the Presidio, I saw something I found arresting. Looking out at the bay I could see all of the icons of San Francisco: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz island, the picturesque sailboats floating by. I was struck by how odd our viewscape is. The government made use of the city's natural landscape, isolating 'objectionable' people -Chinese and criminals- onto two tiny islands. In plain sight of the whole city is an immigration detention center and a federal prison. Back when both institutions were fully operational, it must have been such an awkward sight from all sides of the view. The city's residents going through their lives with a constant, uncomfortable visual reminder. And for those isolated from the city's population- vibrant, booming San Francisco could be sensed just beyond their physical boundaries. I have always appreciated the prettiness of this view, never seeing its loaded heaviness.