Art can remind us that Life is Beautiful.

Flowers have been painted on one side of a utility box on Bankers Hill.
Flowers have been painted on a utility box on Bankers Hill.

Life is essentially beautiful. Art can remind us of this truth.

Art that affirms life’s essential beauty can be simple or complex. It isn’t small, or cynical. It generously finds wonder with every brush stroke.

Art can remind us all that this world contains wonders beyond count.
This world, and our lives, contain wonders beyond count.
A simple phrase. Life is Beautiful.
A simple phrase carefully written: Life is Beautiful.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of amazing orchid show in Balboa Park.

Please forgive me. I’m taking it easy this weekend after all that wonderful Comic-Con insanity. So my walk today was slow and simple: meandering through Balboa Park.

I lingered a long while in the Casa del Prado, where the San Diego County Orchid Society is having their summer show and sale. (It continues on Sunday.)

I discovered amazing beauty everywhere.

Feeling lazy, I didn’t take notes. Just photos of a few blooms that caught my eye.

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Colorful photos from 2017 Fiesta Botanica!

The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and botanical information.
The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and useful botanical information.

Of course I had to go to Fiesta Botanica! I love flowers, plants, sunshine and Balboa Park!

What used to be called Balboa Park’s Garden Party is now Fiesta Botanica, in keeping with the surrounding Spanish-style architecture. And who would want to miss a colorful fiesta!

I’m sorry to say I missed the floral wagon parade this year, because I was privileged to receive a very special morning tour at the San Diego Museum of Art. I’ll probably blog about that tomorrow.

Anyway, I just happily wandered about Fiesta Botanica after leaving the museum and did my best to learn a little about gardening and the miraculous world of nature. There was quite a lot to see!

As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant now-fenced Moreton Bay Fig near the Natural History Museum. A platform would allow visitors to closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant, now-fenced-off Moreton Bay Fig, which stands near the Natural History Museum. A raised platform would allow visitors to more closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of human feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park's landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
Artist Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park’s landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado.
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado. I believe this one was sponsored by Save Starlight.
In Spanish Village I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!
In Spanish Village, I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!

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A colorful spring walk around Coronado.

Looking across San Diego Bay toward downtown from Coronado's beautiful Centennial Park.
Looking across San Diego Bay toward downtown.  A spectacular view from Coronado’s beautiful Centennial Park.

Spring will soon become summer. I had to wear shorts for my long walk around Coronado today. A very warm sun was shining and the island was abloom.

Walking west through Centennial Park. Flags line the pathway for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Walking west through Centennial Park. Flags line the pathway for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Gazing from a sheltered area with benches across green grass. The skyline of downtown San Diego rises in the background.
Gazing from a sheltered area with benches across the green grass. The skyline of downtown San Diego rises in the background.
Words on one bench. Don't be afraid to lean into the wind, love the earth in all of its glories, and take care of each other.
Words on one bench. Don’t be afraid to lean into the wind, love the earth in all of its glories, and take care of each other.
Gazing north along the bayside beach toward Navy ships docked at North Island.
Gazing north along the bayside beach toward Navy ships docked at North Island.
Roses bloom near the old ticket booth of the original Coronado ferry.
Roses bloom near the old ticket booth of the original Coronado ferry.
A spring bloom in Coronado.
A spring bloom in Coronado.
Some patriotic art on a wall by the Little Club on Orange Avenue.
Some patriotic art on a wall by the Little Club on Orange Avenue.
Walking west along Orange Avenue. Coronado is pleasant, friendly and inviting wherever you roam.
Walking west along Orange Avenue. Coronado is pleasant, friendly and inviting wherever you roam.
Bench near the front of the Coronado Public Library.
Bench near the front of the Coronado Public Library.
Plaque on the bench. In memory of June Lenz, founder of Crown Garden Club, whose legacy was to encourage the love of flowers and the beautification of Coronado.
Plaque on the bench. In memory of June Lenz, founder of Crown Garden Club, whose legacy was to encourage the love of flowers and the beautification of Coronado.
Flowers in front of the stately but welcoming Coronado Public Library.
Flowers in front of the stately but welcoming Coronado Public Library.
The big Torrey Pine on the left of this photograph is a Coronado Heritage Tree.
The big Torrey Pine on the left side of this photograph is a Coronado Heritage Tree.
Flags by the library fly proudly on a spring day.
Flags by the library fly proudly on a spring day.
A plaque on a boulder by the flagpole. The Stockdale Tribute. Vice Admiral Stockdale and his wife Sybil were distinguished Coronado residents.
A plaque on a boulder by the flagpole. The Stockdale Tribute. Vice Admiral Stockdale and his wife Sybil were distinguished Coronado residents.
A shining, kinetic sculpture by the library turns in the breeze.
A shining, kinetic sculpture by the library turns in the breeze.
A flower vendor brightens Orange Avenue.
A flower vendor brightens Orange Avenue.
A life-size Marilyn Monroe by an Orange Avenue shop in her iconic pose. She starred in the classic movie Some Like It Hot, which was filmed at the nearby Hotel del Coronado.
This life-size Marilyn Monroe by an Orange Avenue shop is in her iconic pose. The famous actress starred in the movie Some Like It Hot, which was filmed at the nearby Hotel del Coronado.
Flowers along fence of a pleasant house in affluent Coronado.
Flowers along fence of a pleasant house in affluent Coronado.
Looking out across the wide beach toward Point Loma and the Pacific Ocean.
Looking out across the wide beach toward the Point Loma peninsula and the Pacific Ocean.
On the beachfront, at 1043 Ocean Boulevard, you'll find one of two historic Spreckels Mansions--his "beach house". John D. Spreckels' more impressive "bay-side house" is now the Glorietta Bay Inn, across from the Hotel del Coronado. The successful and very wealthy businessman helped to transform San Diego into a bustling city and center of commerce. One of his business ventures included the world-famous Hotel del Coronado.
A peek at John D. Spreckels’ “beach house” on Coronado.

On the beachfront, at 1043 Ocean Boulevard, you’ll find one of two historic Spreckels Mansions: his “beach house”. John D. Spreckels’ more impressive “bay-side house” is now the Glorietta Bay Inn, across from the Hotel del Coronado. The successful and very wealthy businessman helped to transform San Diego into a bustling city and center of commerce. One of his business ventures included the world-famous Hotel del Coronado.

Concrete sidewalk in front of the Spreckels "beach house" is stamped 1898.
Concrete sidewalk in front of the Spreckels “beach house” is stamped 1898.
Heading south along the beach toward the Hotel del Coronado, one of the world's finest, most famous resorts.
Heading south along the beach toward the Hotel del Coronado, one of the world’s finest resorts.
Coronado has one of the best beaches in the United States. It is regularly rated in the nation's top five.
Coronado has one of the best beaches in the United States. It is regularly rated in the nation’s top five.
Hotel guests and visitors enjoy the San Diego sunshine on a broad white beach.
Hotel guests and visitors enjoy the San Diego sunshine on a broad white beach.
This cool sand sculpture was built near the Hotel del Coronado by The Sandcastle Man!
This cool sand sculpture was built near the Hotel del Coronado by The Sandcastle Man!
The Hotel del Coronado is an architectural gem. Numerous world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities have stayed at the resort over the years.
The Hotel del Coronado is an architectural gem. Numerous world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities have stayed at the resort over the years.
Sign by the beach. Hotel del Coronado continues to safeguard this magnificent stretch of Southern California coastline.
Sign by the beach. Hotel del Coronado continues to safeguard this magnificent stretch of Southern California coastline.
This is paradise.
This is paradise.
Biking down toward the Coronado Shores.
Biking down toward the Coronado Shores.
Old and new maps of Coronado Island on a portable restroom.
Old and new maps of Coronado Island on a portable restroom.
The Hotel del Coronado's old boathouse, on Glorietta Bay, built in 1887. It's now home to the Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill.
The Hotel del Coronado’s old boathouse, on Glorietta Bay, built in 1887. It’s now home to the Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill.
Bicyclists ride down Glorietta Boulevard, part of the Bayshore Bikeway around San Diego Bay.
Bicyclists ride down Glorietta Boulevard, part of the Bayshore Bikeway around San Diego Bay.
Golfers enjoy a sunny spring Saturday at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course.
Golfers enjoy a sunny spring Saturday at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course.
Photo taken beneath the San Diego- Coronado Bridge, which opened in 1969. Locals often call it the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Photo taken beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, which opened in 1969. Locals often call it the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Boats moored between Coronado and the bridge. San Diego's shipyards can be glimpsed on the other side of the bay.
Boats moored between Coronado and the bridge. San Diego’s shipyards can be glimpsed on the other side of the bay.
Colorful boats piled on the sand near Coronado Tidelands Park.
Colorful boats piled on the sand near Coronado Tidelands Park.
A silly bench by the playground at Coronado Tidelands Park, created by sculptor Douglas Snider of Studio 15 in Balboa Park's Spanish Village Art Center.
A silly bench by the playground at Coronado Tidelands Park, created by sculptor Douglas Snider of Studio 15 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.
I believe this fellow down by the water is a great blue heron.
I believe this fellow down by the water is a great blue heron.
My walk will soon come full circle. What a perfect spring day.
My walk will soon come full circle. What a perfect late spring day.

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Photos from a short hike through Sweetwater Marsh.

A group begins a nature hike down a trail at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
A group begins an easy nature hike down a trail at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

On Saturday I visited Gunpowder Point, just south of where the Sweetwater River empties into San Diego Bay. The marshy area is a wildlife refuge. It’s part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, to be exact, and home of the popular Living Coast Discovery Center.

After visiting the Living Coast Discovery Center, I enjoyed a guided nature hike down a short trail through the Sweetwater Marsh.

I was pleasantly surprised by the bare natural beauty. I didn’t see a whole lot of wildlife during this visit, but I know our region’s marshes and estuaries are often teeming with birds. San Diego is part of the Pacific Flyway, a major route of migratory birds that stretches from Alaska to South America.

A map inside the nearby Living Coast Discovery Center show the location of the Sweetwater River and the marsh where it enters San Diego Bay.
A map inside the nearby Living Coast Discovery Center shows the location of the Sweetwater River and the marsh where it enters San Diego Bay.
Hiking through Chula Vista's protected Sweetwater Marsh on a sunny day. It's mid-May and the once green and flowering plants have begun to dry out.
Hiking through Chula Vista’s protected Sweetwater Marsh on a sunny day. It’s mid-May and the once green and flowering plants have begun to dry out.  In this photo I see some prickly pear cactus.  During the hike I also recognized black sage and coastal sagebrush.
Our guide shows us saltbush. It is adapted to the type of salty soil in this marsh on San Diego Bay. Its leaves taste salty!
Our guide shows us saltbush. It is adapted to the type of salty soil in this coastal marsh. Its leaves taste salty!
Sign by the trail. This area is called Gunpowder Point. During World War I, Hercules Powder Co. extracted potash and acetone here from kelp harvested offshore in the Pacific Ocean. These were used to make cordite, or smokeless gunpowder for the British.
Sign by the trail. This area is called Gunpowder Point. During World War I, Hercules Powder Co. extracted potash and acetone here from kelp harvested offshore in the Pacific Ocean. These were used to make cordite, also called smokeless gunpowder, for the British.
A sail on the bay beyond a drying field of San Diego Sunflowers.
A sail on the bay beyond a drying field of San Diego Sunflowers.
The short, easy hike is ideal for families.
The short, easy hike is ideal for families.
Some sunflowers are still yellow.
Some sunflowers are still yellow.
The San Diego Sunflower, or Bahiopsis laciniata, is often found in a coastal sage scrub environment.
The San Diego Sunflower, or Bahiopsis laciniata, is often found in a coastal sage scrub environment.
The Silver Strand and Coronado Cays can be seen across San Diego Bay.
The Silver Strand and Coronado Cays can be seen across San Diego Bay.
We've arrived at the wildlife reserve's narrow sandy shore. Birds could be seen here and there in the distance.
We’ve arrived at the wildlife refuge’s narrow sandy shore. Birds could be seen here and there in the distance.
As the group continues on, I linger to take in the sunshine and wide views. I notice what appears to be remnants of the potash manufacturing operation from years ago.
As the group continues on, I linger to take in the sunshine and wide views. I notice what appears to be remnants of the potash manufacturing operation from years ago. Some benches allow rest and meditation.
Stones and debris on a beach in the wildlife refuge.
Stones and debris on a beach in the wildlife refuge.
Some mysterious (to me) concrete ruins on Gunpowder Point.
Some mysterious (to me) concrete ruins on Gunpowder Point.
I arrived at a bird observation lookout. All was very quiet. I saw a California least tern hunting small fish along the water's edge. Few people seem to come out here.
I arrived at a bird observation structure. All was very quiet. I saw a California least tern hunting small fish along the water’s edge. Few people seem to come out here.
Depending on the tide, the area near the shore can be open water or a mudflat that supports shorebirds searching for food.
Depending on the tide, the area near the shore can be open water or a mudflat that supports shorebirds searching for food.
Bird's beaks are specially designed for feeding. Some beaks filter plants from the water, some grab flies out of the air, and some probe the mud.
Bird’s beaks are specially designed for feeding. Some beaks filter plants from the water, some grab flies out of the air, and some probe the mud.
The tide must have been out, because this platform stood above a drying mudflat.
The tide must have been out, because this platform stood above a drying mudflat.  I believe that might be bright green eelgrass in the shallow pool of water.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or crystalline ice plant, is salt tolerant. My hike through the marsh produced some beautiful surprises.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or crystalline ice plant, is salt tolerant. My hike through the marsh produced some beautiful surprises.
Hiking through an expanse of green in San Diego's South Bay.
Hiking through an expanse of green in San Diego’s South Bay.

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A short hike along Lake Poway Trail.

Bronze sculpture of a mountain lion and cub near the Lake Poway concession building. Pride of the Wilderness, Richard Becker, 2007.
Bronze sculpture of a mountain lion and cub near the Lake Poway concession building. Pride of the Wilderness, Richard Becker, 2007.

This morning, before checking out the new Tony Gwynn statue, I took a short hike up the Lake Poway Trail.

Here are some photographs…

Sign near beginning of Lake Poway Trail shows how to continue on to the summit of Mt. Woodson, location of the famous Potato Chip Rock.
Sign near beginning of Lake Poway Trail shows how to continue on to the summit of Mt. Woodson, location of the famous Potato Chip Rock.
On a Sunday morning some people along the shore are trying their hand at fishing.
On a Sunday morning some people along the shore are trying their hand at fishing.
Starting up the Lake Poway Trail. The natural scenery is beautiful.
Starting up the Lake Poway Trail. The natural scenery is beautiful.
A trail marker.
A trail marker.
I believe this is wild mustard. Various flowers could be seen along the trail.
I believe this is wild mustard. Various flowers could be seen along the trail.
Bright green foliage above silver water.
Bright green foliage above silver water.
Hikers climb the Lake Poway Trail on an overcast weekend morning.
Hikers climb the Lake Poway Trail on an overcast weekend morning.
Looking back at how far I've come so far.
Looking back at how far I’ve come so far.
Several boats containing fishermen were floating on the lake below.
Several boats containing fishermen were floating on the lake below.
More hikers climbing skyward.
More hikers climbing skyward.
This is as far as I came. I enjoy a breathtaking view as a ray of sun comes through and touches a hill.
This is as far as I came. I enjoy a breathtaking view as a ray of sunshine comes through and touches a hill across the lake.
As I head back down, my eyes feast on more beauty.
As I head back down, my eyes feast on more beauty.
A small bunny is out on the trail.
A small bunny is out on the trail.
Almost back to lake level.
Almost back to lake level.
Some kids were fishing.
Some kids were fishing.
These kids who are fishing huddle together to check out something on the lake's shore.
These kids who are fishing huddle together to check out something on the lake’s shore.
Someone caught a huge fish! One of the kids runs over to see!
Someone caught a huge fish! One of the kids runs over to see!
During my short hike I turned around at this bench. It's dedicated to John Finley McMinn, naval aviator who won the Distinguished Flying Cross.
During my short hike I turned around at this bench. It’s dedicated to John Finley McMinn, naval aviator who won the Distinguished Flying Cross.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Rain creates magic in a very special garden.

Raindrops on leaves at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
Raindrops on leaves at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

During today’s spring rain, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park shined with magic. Every leaf was enchanted. Every part of the garden was blessed with a profound and mysterious beauty.

Rain nourishes life: every life.

A spring storm creates unexpected beauty.
A spring storm creates unexpected natural beauty.
Wet, bright green leaves.
Wet, very bright green leaves.
Budding spheres of red magic open mysteriously.
Budding spheres of red.  Like magic they open mysteriously.
Water in the grooves of a beautifully marbled stone by the garden path.
Water in the grooves of a beautifully marbled stone by the garden path.
Droplets on a fern, like a curtain of beaded diamonds.
Droplets shining on a fern, like a curtain of beaded diamonds.
Sunlight through magical layers of green.
Sunlight through dreamy, magical layers of green.
More simple beauty at the always wonderful Japanese Friendship Garden.
Simple beauty at the always wonderful Japanese Friendship Garden.
Fragile blooms encrusted with crystal-like rain.
Fragile blooms encrusted with crystal-like rain.
Smooth forms of beaded water on a sloping leaf.
Smooth forms of beaded water on a sloping leaf.
One photograph of beauty in a special garden, on a rainy day in San Diego.
Another photograph of beauty in a special garden, on a rainy May day in San Diego.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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