Messages of love, optimism in La Mesa.

Love is the solution.
Love is the solution.

This weekend I walked a little around La Mesa. I hadn’t been out that way since January of last year.

My heart was warmed to see many messages of love and optimism decorating the chain link fence surrounding property that was destroyed during the late May riot, which was fueled by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that same month.

The community–mostly young people–produced idealistic artwork full of hope. I saw the heartfelt desire for equality, peace, understanding, and the end of racism. Love and kindness were in most of the messages.

The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.
The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.
Unity in the community.
Unity in the community.
Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.
Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.
Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.
Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.
Love sees no color. End racism.
Love sees no color. End racism.
Hopeful images painted by a young person.
Hopeful images painted by a young person.
We are all under the same sun.
We are all under the same sun.
All we need is love.
All we need is love.
Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.
Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.
A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.
A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.
Step into the daylight.
Step into the daylight.
Be positive.
Be positive.
Let us embrace all the colors.
Let us embrace all the colors.
Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.
Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.
Together friends.
Together friends.
La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.
La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.
There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.
What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.
What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.
Do justice. Walk humbly.
Do justice. Walk humbly.
We're in this together.
We’re in this together.
A hopeful vision.
A hopeful vision.
Fight for what's right.
Fight for what’s right.
Be kind.
Be kind.
More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.
More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.
Be you. Shine bright.
Be you. Shine bright.
Be the change.
Be the change.
Love and respect for your neighbor.
Love and respect for your neighbor.
We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
Listen.
Listen.
Grow through what you go through.
Grow through what you go through.
Love one another.
Love one another.
Fine artwork full of humanity.
Fine artwork full of humanity.
Make the world a better place.
Make the world a better place.
Love wins.
Love wins.
Peace and love. Love will win.
Peace and love. Love will win.
When you focus on good, the good gets better.
When you focus on good, the good gets better.
Shine like stars.
Shine like stars.
Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate--only love can.
Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate–only love can.
Love not hate makes America great.
Love not hate makes America great.
Peace. Love. Hope.
Peace. Love. Hope.
Believe there is good.
Believe there is good.
Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.
Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.
Kindness matters.
Kindness matters.
All black lives matter.
All black lives matter.
The dove of peace.
The dove of peace.
Love. United we stand.
Love. United we stand.
Love grows here.
Love grows here.

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!

May love prevail.

This morning, as I walked through downtown to catch the trolley, I observed something near my feet.

I saw litter. I saw a raised fist. I saw the large words: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

May the latter message–the one that promotes love–prevail.

POW memorial at Miramar National Cemetery.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We will remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in past wars.

Yesterday I visited Miramar National Cemetery. I paused before a moving statue titled Liberation. The 15-foot tall monument was created by San Diego artist Richard Becker. It’s a memorial to Prisoners of War, who also sacrificed greatly.

The bronze statue shows a prisoner liberated, breaking free from surrounding barbed wire. The extraordinarily expressive artwork speaks for itself.

I thought you might like to see it.

If you’d like to see more work by renowned local sculptor Richard Becker, you can revisit past blog posts here or here or here or here.

The plaque on the base of Liberation reads:

This statue conveys the excitement, trepidation, exhilaration and emotion of the LIBERATION moment, as the emaciated soldier steps out of the darkness into the “Sunshine of Freedom.”

He portrays the hundreds of thousands who were bound in captivity by the infamy of foreign enemies.

This is to stand as an eternal legacy for our community by reminding visitors of the sacrifice of veterans during America’s efforts to keep alive the hopes and dreams of freedom for the oppressed around the world.

American-Ex Prisoners of War, Chapter One, San Diego.

Artist: Richard Becker.

Dedicated: 2011.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

More signs expressing unity and thankfulness.

We are all in this together.
We are all in this together.

In San Diego we are proceeding with the gradual reopening of society as the coronavirus pandemic seems to slowly subside. Today restaurants were allowed to open for dining. Strict guidelines must be followed such as maintaining super sanitary conditions and safe social distancing.

Some say the reopening of society is proceeding too quickly; others say not quickly enough. But the future is a tricky thing to predict. There are so many variables. So many different risks. All I know is that at some point we’ll look back and see what actions in the final analysis were most wise. And our knowledge will increase.

On another hopeful note, during my walks in the past couple weeks I’ve observed more signs around town celebrating unity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other signs express thankfulness to essential workers. You’ll see that one billboard I photographed about a week ago concerning restaurants now seems dated, but no matter.

That so many people have demonstrated an urge to stay positive during this terrible crisis seems a good sign for the future of humanity in general.

At least, it appears that way to me. I’m an optimist.

San Diego strong.
San Diego strong.
To restaurants still delivering meals, thank you.
To restaurants still delivering meals, thank you.
Thanks transit driver heroes.
Thanks (transit driver) heroes.

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!

Friday in the Gaslamp during the pandemic.

The Gaslamp Quarter early this evening appeared almost like a ghost town. Partly boarded up. Mostly lifeless. Very unlike Fridays before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, huge crowds of people would fill the streets on a late Friday or weekend. The restaurants, bars and nightclubs would be packed. But those good times and that party atmosphere have suddenly ended.

I took photos early this evening around 6 pm as I walked up Fifth Avenue through the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

The mermaid and those hopeful, thankful messages you see in two upcoming photographs were in front of the Starbucks at the Hard Rock Hotel. They are one of the few places that are open. A nice lady came out, hoping for business. I promised her I’d let my readers know that Starbucks is open. But you must wear a mask.

A few restaurants up and down Fifth Avenue were offering take out, but I saw virtually no business. Almost no people were about, even as California and San Diego slowly lift the pandemic lockdowns and allow businesses to reopen under certain conditions.

I wonder how many of these establishments will survive.

Before the pandemic, many of the businesses in the Gaslamp had a tough enough time of it. Between the many homeless who drive potential customers away, and the sky high rents, I’ve been told it can be difficult to keep doors open. In recent years I’ve seen storefronts constantly change, and FOR LEASE signs on some buildings that never go away.

There have been audacious plans to create an upscale, world-class pedestrian Gaslamp Promenade along Fifth Avenue. But I wonder. A virus seems to have other plans. Economic disruption continues. The future is in doubt.

It seems there’s a chance the Gaslamp Quarter might return to what it was decades ago. An area of downtown in slow decay. Or consider this harsh possibility: might the Gaslamp once again become San Diego’s seedy “Stingaree” red-light district, as it was a century ago?

Large signs up and down the streets contain hopeful messages, such as Stay Strong and Things Will Be Okay.

As a downtown resident, I do hope the Gaslamp comes out of this crisis okay.

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!

Inspirational street art in North Park!

This is tough but so are you.
This is tough but so are you.

Need a little hope and optimism during this difficult time?

Check out all this inspirational street art I discovered today during my walk through North Park!

I found positive artwork painted on an electrical box, hopeful chalk art on the sidewalk, and two cool murals (first and last photos) by PANDR Design Co., the folks who created the popular “SMILE, You’re in San Diego” mural downtown! (You can see that mural and learn more about the artists here!)

You are a radiant beam of light and capable of so much good.
You are a radiant beam of light and capable of so much good.
You got this.
You got this.
Some happy, positive street art in North Park.
Some happy, positive street art in North Park.
Breathe. You are loved.
Breathe. You are loved.
I know it's hard now but it will get better.
I know it’s hard now but it will get better.
Better day ahead.
Better days ahead.
We'll get through it together.
We’ll get through it together.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A short story about gratitude and humility.

I finally finished writing another short story.

This one was very difficult, and I’m still not sure it’s exactly right.

We live in a dark moment of history, when many people are suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic. And pain is an essential part of this story.

But the story, titled The Pier, contains happiness, too. It’s ultimately about human gratitude and humility.

You can read it here.

If you’re bored sitting at home while the pandemic rages, and you like to read, you might enjoy checking out dozens of thought-provoking short stories here.

As always, thank you for coming along on my small adventures.

Richard

Street art around the city provides inspiration!

Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to conquer it.
Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to conquer it.

We now live in a very difficult time. The coronavirus pandemic has shut many of us indoors, darkened our days, made the future uncertain.

So I’ve decided to post these photos of inspirational street art. Reminders that hope persists. That there is love, and beauty, and a future that is always full of promise.

These examples of inspirational street art were all photographed during past walks around the city.

The only thing stronger than fear is hope.
The only thing stronger than fear is hope.
Live free like a butterfly.
Live free like a butterfly.
Let's be friends.
Let’s be friends.
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.
I love you more than you'll ever know.
I love you more than you’ll ever know.
Be true.
Be true.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
A smile among beauty.
A smile among beauty.
One love.
One love.
Faith. Hope. Peace. Love.
Faith. Hope. Peace. Love.
Be humble you are made of earth. Be noble you are made of stars.
Be humble you are made of earth. Be noble you are made of stars.
Happiness and sunshine.
Happiness and sunshine.
I am possible.
I am possible.
Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
True love is a returning... Love awakes the child in you...
True love is a returning… Love awakes the child in you…
Hand in hand.
Hand in hand.
Love.
Love.
Smiling faces.
Smiling faces.
Keep going!
Keep going!
Keep going.
Keep going.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Beauty close to your door.

The coronavirus pandemic we’re all involved in is a very difficult thing. To slow the spread of the contagious, dangerous COVID-19 virus, we all must maintain social distance. Most public areas are now officially closed.

Personally, I find being shut up inside for much of the day a bit depressing. But you know what? Look what I photographed just outside the back door today!

What beauty awaits close to your door?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera. When the coronavirus pandemic finally subsides–hopefully sooner rather than later–my journeys of discovery around San Diego will resume!

You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Blogging during the coronavirus pandemic.

California is now under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. The streets are almost empty as people remain safely in their homes to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Obviously, this will affect my photography around San Diego. Until the situation improves, I’m going to curtail my outdoor walking, except to grab groceries and perhaps briefly exercise while avoiding close human contact. It’s a terrible situation. But we all need to look out for one another and do our best to minimize the impact of this very nasty virus.

What is an idle photoblogger to do?

Cool San Diego Sights already features thousands of photos–so I’ve decided to pick out past images and add them on a daily basis to my Instagram page, which is instagram.com/coolsandiegophotos.

I’m afraid I haven’t been very active on Instagram, but if you want to be cheered by colorful photos of the city, click the above link and perhaps give me a follow!

In the following days I will also concentrate on writing fiction. I have another short story in progress that concerns gratitude. Hopefully I’ll finish it soon.

To read some short works of thought-provoking fiction, you can click Short Stories by Richard.

Meanwhile, everyone who is reading this take care. We’ll eventually get through this awful situation.

The sun continues to rise.