Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It only takes a tiny corner of this great big world to find a place you love

The City is going all out to commemorate the centennial of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of April 18, 1906. Time was thousands of survivors would gather every year at Lotta's Fountain on the day, but as the years marched on, the number of those who actually lived through that event has dwindled to a mere handful.

If you've been through an earthquake, or even lived in San Francisco for a hot minute, for that matter, you know what I'm talking about; if not, it may be no more than of only passing interest to you. To anyone who ever felt like a piece of your soul was savagely wrenched out as you left
the City, looking back at the Ferry Building from the Bay Bridge the moment you passed the Embarcadero and were over the bay, well, you know what I mean.

I didn't get to see the exhibition at the port headquarters when we were last in the City, but an even larger exhibition related to 1906 will be held the weekend prior to the anniversary. The moment of the earthquake will be marked by a gathering of San Franciscans at Lotta's Fountain --they're expecting some 50,000 at last count (I'll be willing to bet that it could end up 10 times that many). At many a SF pride march, most of the half million visitors from the world over have passed by Lotta's Fountain without realizing they were in the heart of the 1906 ruins at the symbol of the City's rebirth.

To learn more about the Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the Museum of the City of San Francisco has an excellent site I've linked at left ("San Francisco Museum & Historical Society") along with a link to the 1906 Expo site.

What started me on all this was reading about the tragic suicide of Ken Bostock.
At the header above, click on a link to the site of Sam Spade's San Francisco metroblog to read the details (I've added a link to his excellent site to the left as well). Perhaps in part because there have been more senseless suicides of people I've known --some only in passing, one for some 14 years-- just as the strange numbness of reading more than 20-plus years of obituaries has always made me appreciate life, Ken Bostock's death hit me.

Depression is an epidemic in the gay and lesbian community. God knows, we can't afford to lose a single life; those who suffer from a treatable illness need to know that their life has meaning and worth and a purpose, moreso than the thought that their death could bring them relief from whatever internal pain they suffer from.

Then I read about Ken Bostock jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, and I remember the last time I was strolling across the Golden Gate Bridge and what a beautiful day that was, and how happy I was and how good life felt. It's said that everyone who jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge does so facing the City. I don't know if that's true, but when the sky is clear and the sun is warm and the City is gleaming in front of you, it's one of the most life-affirming moments you could ever wish for. Somehow, I think, it isn't the permanence of death that people are after at that moment when they take that last look...

That's it for now. I can't type any more right now. Go out and smile at somebody and say hello, will you? Damn, it's a beautiful day outside.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for adding a link to Sam Spade's San Francisco. I appreciate it very much. All the best, - Sam