Every time I've been to San Francisco in the last twenty years, it's been on business. Race in, meeting, race out. This is the first time I've had days to simply wander aimlessly through the streets. So my first Slow Love Life lesson, to all of you traveling to interesting places on business trips, do everything in your power to schedule a free day at the start or end of your work. It is so refreshing to set aside the business purpose, and rachet up to the pleasurable work of inspiration.
This is a city full of personality, and we found something to delight in around every corner. We happened into the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, a municipal glasshouse that was opened in 1879.
It is much more modest in scale than the august lady at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, but it has great charm. And there are beautiful architectural flourishes in the colored panes of glass rimming the top, and the steel paving along the paths.
And of course, horticulturally, the glasshouse offered some beautiful moments. Alex and I spent an hour wandering through the rooms while Theo practiced Qigong amidst the ornamental beds cut into the lawns. He is always calm and centered after he does that.
And I am always calm and centered after a visit to a tropical hothouse. Alex is calm and centered no matter what.
Peace Industry, selling thick, hand-felted rugs made in Turkey the old-fashioned way, with boiled wool mashed into place; the rugs are pure wool and vegetable dyed, and designed by the owner, artist Melina Raissaia. Her blog is sweet, too, and in her descriptions of craft nights, she makes me realize how much of a spark of creativity a good shop owner can ignite in any community.
The shop was selling felt tree ornaments shaped like whirling dervishes festooned with sequins.
It was a raw, damp day, and every once in a while we would catch a whiff of eucalyptus burning in people's fireplaces. There were many magnificent specimens of trees, not only the eucalyptus whose bark seems painted, but towering cedar of Lebanon as well. I had a very happy moment of feeling like a sponge, just soaking it all up, and wringing myself inside out with happiness in the company of my sons, seeing an old place through new eyes.