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Sunday, March 30, 2003

If I complain all winter about the endless parade of dismal gray days, I have a predicament when the tide turns. I have to roll with it, or the moaning and grumbling rings hollow. I'm sort of obligated to take advantage of this string of sunny spring days we're having now. Staying inside and working on a Sunday doesn't do it, because that's what I do the whole winter.

Eric had an inspiration yesterday, and the result was that we spent today together, enjoying a sunny March day in San Francisco. The city might have fog every day during the summer, but spring and autumn are brilliant times of the year there, and I didn't even need the sweatshirt I took with me.

He picked me up a little after ten this morning and we headed for Larkspur, where we were to catch the ferry across the bay. I don't know how we always seem to make it just in time, but we made it just in time one more time. Stood in line, bought our tickets (round-trip), boarded the boat, and we were off.

I've been on that ferry quite a few times now, but I've never seen the Bay so beautiful. Not calm, not by a long way. But as clear as it ever can be. We came around Angel Island and there was the Golden Gate Bridge off in the distance, spanning the entrance to the Bay and looking like something on a post card.

Then we passed Alcatraz and the City was in our sights, buildings of all shapes and sizes, set down on the hills and right up to the water's edge, almost as if it were planned that way. It wasn't, of course. It's a bit of land surrounded on three sides by water, and there's no room to spread out, no place to build but up. It's a magnificent vista that almost seems unreal, like an architect's model of what a city skyline should look like.

The ferry passed under the Bay Bridge and there in front of us was Pacific Bell Park. Yes, we did have a reason to be in San Francisco today. It was the Giants' last spring training game before the real baseball season starts tomorrow. That's probably why we were able to get tickets. The ballpark is sold out for most of the games all summer, especially on weekends.

Pacific Bell Park

This time, somehow, Eric scored us seats only fifteen rows off the field, just behind third base. Oh we paid for them, the same price we'd have had to pay if this game counted in the standings. But we would never be able to buy tickets in those seats during the season, so we have to take advantage when we can.

It's not that we didn't enjoy the game itself, but that was hardly the point on a day like this. The Giants used their regular players for about half the game, and the Mariners for about a third. Still, it was a crisply played if meaningless contest, ending with a 3-1 win by Seattle.

Oh well. It was a gorgeous day in the sun, with good company and plenty of people-watching. I saw little kids the age my nephews were when I started taking them to ballgames (more than twenty years ago in Eric's case). And they all seemed to have that same joy of being free and loved and ready for some great adventure to start.

And why not? You don't see unhappy children at the ballpark very often. They're usually there because their parents really want to spend those three hours with them, and a baseball game is nothing more than a good excuse. The pace of baseball lets you give them all the attention they need and still not miss anything important.

It's almost enough to give a person a ray of hope that the world still has some good years left in it.

Pacific Bell Park

The view from section 126.

Riding back home through north Marin, it occurred to me that this is the perfect time of year if you like the color green. The hills are an intense shade of deep green, and they're dotted with trees of different hues and textures. Any later in the year and the hills will be brown. Any earlier and the trees would have been bare. Today was unbelievable.

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There really isn't much to add, is there? I'm so grateful that I'm the guy Eric called when he found out tickets to the game were available. I don't have kids, but I'm happy to have strong, lasting relationships with both of my nephews. I really enjoy their company, and this was a great day.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Weeding and Wheezing
"I could keep working or I could keep breathing. I think I made the right choice, but I'm kind of discouraged that I couldn't get more done."

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