Fog at Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

Early this morning, an overnight fog obscured Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

As the rising sun began to brighten the fantastic cacti of the Desert Garden, banks of fog lingered in Florida Canyon and beyond, appearing like ghostly, faraway islands…

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!

A teddy bear and a broken heart.

I saw this on Sunday. Valentine’s Day.

I was walking past a bus stop in North Park when my attention was arrested by a large teddy bear. The bear was sitting alone at the end of the bench. I looked around. Absolutely nobody was nearby.

I had to pause to take in this strange sight. Then it occurred to me: either this cute, very loveable teddy bear had been accidentally left behind, or it had been left there intentionally.

Either scenario meant heartbreak.

It’s one small story in the city that you and I will never know.

What made my discovery really weird–almost eerie–is that for weeks I had been working on a short story concerning a similar teddy bear on the streets of a city.

Even though the story is very short, it had persistently troubled me. I knew it had potential. But I couldn’t seem to get it right.

Seeing that mysterious bear inspired me to work on the story with renewed purpose.

I published The Teddy Bear yesterday. Since then I’ve made a number of changes. But I think it might be finished. It remains painful. Like many of my little stories it has a surprise ending.

If you’d like, you can read it here.

Yellow bison on Golden Hill rooftop!

Why is there a big yellow bison standing on the roof of an apartment building in Golden Hill?

You can see this very odd sight on the southeast corner of Broadway and 21st Street.

I spoke to some folks walking across the street. They’ve lived in the neighborhood for ten years. They told me the big yellow bison has been standing up on that rooftop for at least a decade. They guess the building owner must really like bison!

Seems as good an explanation as any!

Does anyone out there know anything about this peculiar sculpture? Leave a comment!

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!

A city reflected from puddles.

Last night it rained. This afternoon the winter storm arrives in earnest. It will be raining on and off in San Diego for most of the week.

This morning I walked from Cortez Hill to Golden Hill and back. As I moved through downtown, I noticed interesting reflections in the sidewalk puddles.

Whenever I found a good rain puddle, I peered through the shining, magical portal and glimpsed fragments of a mysterious city…

I have lots of cool (and unusual) photos from my Golden Hill walk coming up, so stay tuned!

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!

Historical plaque near Paradise Valley Hospital.

There’s a mysterious bronze plaque in National City near Paradise Valley Hospital.

You can see it on Euclid Avenue, north of 8th Street, right next to a bus stop and hospital sign. The archway to long-vanished Paradise Valley Sanitarium also stands nearby.

There’s no visible indication of who placed the plaque, or when. Just these words in bronze:

SITE OF ORIGINAL WELL

FAITH AND PRAYER WERE REWARDED IN
NOVEMBER 1904, FOR AT THIS SITE GOD
GAVE OUR PIONEERS WATER. MRS. ELLEN
G. WHITE IN REVEALING WHAT GOD HAD
SHOWN HER SAID, “IT MAY NOT BE AT THIS
SPOT, IT MAY BE SOMEWHERE ELSE ON THIS
ESTATE, BUT THERE IS PLENTY OF WATER
SOMEWHERE.” TO THIS DAY, THE SUPPLY HAS
NOT FAILED. OUR PRESENT WELL TAPS THE
SAME CHANNEL, BUT BECAUSE OF DRAINAGE
PROBLEMS IT IS ON A HIGHER LEVEL
APPROXIMATELY 700 YARDS EAST.

A little research indicates that the Ellen G. White mentioned was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

According to Wikipedia: In 1883, Dr. Anna L. Potts started construction of Mount Paradise Sanitarium seven miles from San Diego. The thirty room sanitarium was finished in 1887. But in 1895, lacking water and patients, Dr. Potts closed Potts Sanitarium…in 1900, Ellen G. White…repeatedly received strong impressions from God that the region was a good location for a sanitarium and hospital. During Mrs. White’s visit to San Diego in 1902, Paradise Sanitarium was for sale for $11,000. Real estate prices slowly declined as the drought continued…later Mrs. White and a wealthy friend, Mrs. Josephine Gotzain, bought it for $4,000. There still was no water, so Ellen White hired a well digger and water was found at 98 feet…

More history concerning Paradise Valley Sanitarium–which became a world-famous health resort, and which was eventually replaced by Paradise Valley Hospital–can be found on this page!

(As you can see in my above photograph, somebody tried to cover up the plaque’s text with black paint or ink.)

No copyright image of Paradise Valley Sanitarium from adventistdigitallibrary.org

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Walking downtown on Beech Street in morning light.

This morning, after walking down from the top of Cortez Hill, I headed west along Beech Street to catch the trolley at the Little Italy station.

Early sunlight was reflecting brightly from downtown’s many buildings. Surrounded by fascinating forms, shadows and reflections, I took this series of photographs…

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!

Fog and silver at South Mission Beach.

I took these moody photos yesterday afternoon near South Mission Beach Park and the Mission Beach Jetty. You can see the volleyball courts on the sand. You’ll also see the nearby lifeguard station.

The lowering sun had vanished behind a gray bank of fog drifting in from the Pacific Ocean. I thought I’d snap a few photos to see how they’d come out.

They seem to tell a mysterious story about life.

And about silver that lives in the gray.

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!

Frida Kahlo and colored patterns on a fence!

Check out this cool, unexpected art I discovered during a walk last weekend!

I was heading down Main Street in Barrio Logan when I looked up 30th Street and glimpsed this artwork on a fence!

Colorful plastic squares had been applied to a chain link fence along Boston Avenue near Interstate 5. This artwork continues for several blocks! In addition to dozens of varied diamond patterns, I spied the above “portrait” of Frida Kahlo!

I’m not sure when this art was created or by whom. It appeared to me as if it had been on that fence for years.

If I hadn’t casually glanced up an ordinary street that I was walking past, I would never have seen this.

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!

Big colorful engine welcomes to National City.

Do you know anything about this huge colorfully painted engine?

The very unique public artwork sits near a welcome to the city sign at the north end of National City Boulevard, by Division Street. I believe it was placed here outside the National City Auto Center about a year ago.

I took these photos yesterday as I walked past. What kind of engine is this? Where did it come from?

Please leave a comment if you know anything!

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!

Is this what the Wise Men saw?

See that tiny, tiny dot in the night sky directly above the photographer’s knuckles? People are calling it the Christmas Star. Astronomers call it a great conjunction, when the two largest planets in our solar system–Jupiter and Saturn– appear very close together to eyes viewing from Earth.

Today is December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice. I took this photograph with my little camera from the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park shortly after dark. That’s downtown San Diego you see on the left.

The last time Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction this closely (and could be seen in most of the Northern Hemisphere) was the year 1226. You’ll have to wait sixty years to see it again. I suppose I won’t be around.

I’ve read and heard conjecture that the biblical Magi were guided to Bethlehem by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the year of Christ’s birth. Some believers claim the timing would have been about right.

Can you make out that miniscule dot? Is that the same “star” the Wise Men saw?

Another good question might be: Is a light from far away what the wise see?

Jupiter and Saturn will continue their orbits around the sun, as will the Earth, long after you and I and every worldly thing we have done and hold dear has vanished, turned to dust, to be swirled by an unseen finger, transformed into something else.

Great conjunctions will continue hundreds, thousands, millions of years into the future. A billion years from this moment–give or take a century–there will be another Christmas Star.