Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Honey from the Heavens....

It's such a pity.... like grass mowed from the lawns of many, it's not effectively used for anything... even though grass is grown for sale to customers in the NorthWest, in general it's a wasted commodity that nobody uses or properly recycles so that it's used for the future.... our future.

What am I referring to? The Honey that falls from the skies and makes us crazy, makes us hide under umbrellas and what makes us wet.... water, or as we know it: rainwater. When I first lived in southern Spain, I was amazed that many would put out their houseplants into their patios or even in the street if there were room, to use the falling precious liquid. I remember even seeing buckets out to gather the raindrops! But in most of the "civilized" world, it's wasted. It runs into storm drains, into sewers, and otherwise washed away.

The Bay Area was flooded with recent rainstorms and where did most of that water go? Into the ground, into the sewers, and into a process called needless water waste. Why do I think of it as millions of people leaving their water faucets open and running for an hour a day every year? Why can't we gather all that blue water, filter it and use it for farming, washing the streets, or other "gray-water" use? Everyone's complaining about the weather but nobody is doing anything... grrrrrr
As I splashed through the wet streets, I thought about the rain but I couldn't do anything about it. I stopped for a car leaving a downtown gas station. The driver sat inside staring at me through the wet glass of his vehicle, surprised someone ~ anyone ~ would stop for him. I flashed my lights and he moved out slowly into traffic.... 20 feet ahead, he also stopped for someone else leaving the same gas station..... friendliness creates more friendliness. Courtesy encourages more courtesy. Peace promotes more peace, so on and so on. I've always had this idea since my teen years and practice it often and everywhere I've lived since. Like a contagious moment of laughter, a smile works wonders.... We never have time for it but we all want that random act of kindness. I was told when I first arrived to the City that drivers here are mean, but I've experienced anything but that. People are generous in their time and have often allowed me to enter traffic or to change lanes... I always acknowledge by holding up my hand to show my gratefulness at their thoughtful consideration. What if everyone would do this?? What a scary thought of a major stateside City full of thoughtful, considerate, friendly people who do random acts of kindness only because it was necessary and with no thought of "what's in it for me".

So started also this "week" my first day of civil duty and obligation... grrrrr I went early after dropping off my sister at her downtown workplace. Not knowing any better, I parked a block away to avoid the crowds and to find a good parking space, but enroute the court building, noticed many available spots I could've used but..... someone else could use them. I'm not greedy. The building at 400 McAllister was closed to visitors at this early hour so I waited with a small handful of others awaiting entry at 8am. It wasn't raining yet though gray clouds loomed overhead, and I waited watching the passing people.... I noticed one man off the sidewalk in the street looking down. He stooped to pick up a tossed-off cigarette butt, looked again for more and not finding any, stepped onto the sidewalk and walked up to me and started waiting behind me! I glanced over my shoulder and saw a jury summons in his hand and thought: one can't get a more accurate representation of this city population!! Minutes later we entered the building and after going through the metal detectors, saw the signs directing jurors downstairs. I followed the signs down the white marble stairwell to a very modern, clean and gorgeous jury room filled with chairs, benches, tables and hanging television monitors (of all the monitors there, later only two on multimedia stands were used).

I was shocked at the size and appearance of the room; though I had been advised the room was very modern, I still expected something more.... ghetto and run-down. It was far form that! A line formed as prospective jurors arrived and checked in with summons in hand; I had brought a book and I must confess this is probably the first book I've even attempted to read since I changed from film to digital imagery almost a decade ago... Looking at the entering people and still reading the hardcover book, I noted a lot of little details: the women were in general, better dressed than the men, though in some cases, some older women actually looked as if they could be street bag-women. At first everyone sat at least a discreet two seat-positions away from the other, until as time passed and seats filled, people started sitting next to others. I saw a very few who plain slept while others worked on puzzles (the young woman next to me), read a newspaper, or even read a book. There were quite a few carrying laptops. They filled quickly the wall seats where table lights allowed comfortable laptop use. Looking about, there was truly a wide range of ages, social and racial backgrounds, and education and social status, as displayed in dress and choice of clothing. Hours later I was dismissed after filling out the juror questionnaire - as I walked past the ornate City Hall, I saw workers on scaffolding at the trees in front of the City Hall and asked what they were doing.... apparently artist Patrick Dougherty with two assistants was in the process of building an natural exhibit atop the branch-less trees by placing trimmed thin branches atop the tree-tops and arranging them in such a way that it looked interesting when I passed by earlier, and now even as it rained, looked ever more delicate and unique...
Rainy days in San Francisco were to be over in a few days, but the rest of the day brought pouring rain, but I like the rain! sigh....

NOTE: All of the above images were captured with my Motorola RZR 1,3mp cell camera :-D

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