A thank you, and a note to my readers!

Almost October. Another year is flying by.

In the daily hustle and bustle, one can forget important things.

I’d like to thank you all, the readers of Cool San Diego Sights.

Thank you for following along during my walks around San Diego. We’ve peered into unexplored corners, lingered in the sunshine. We’ve had a laugh or two. We’ve experienced a good deal of wonder in a beautiful city.

Thank you for your comments and your sharing.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately–about the best way to spend my weekends and free time before and after work.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more inclined to sit in a tranquil place and simply write. Deep down that’s what I really love. So I’ve decided from this point forward I will concentrate more on writing fiction, less on photoblogging.

I’ll still walk, of course–and if I happen to spy something cool or interesting, I’ll post photos right here on Cool San Diego Sights, or my companion blog Beautiful Balboa Park. But once I find that perfect seat, my old camera will be set to one side as I pick up notebook and pen.

Some of those scribbled words will eventually make it to my website Short Stories by Richard. That’s where small philosophical works of fiction await curious readers.

My camera might be idle for hours as I brainstorm, dream and write, but my feet are still restless! I’m sure more photos will appear in the days ahead. Many corners await exploration!

Ahead into the future!

Richard

The ribbon of life, five years later…

A photo of the mural Our River was the first thing I ever posted to Cool San Diego Sights. I had paused during a walk in Mission Valley, and had felt inspired take a few pictures. That was five years ago.

Today I returned to the same mural.

The beautifully painted artwork, depicting the San Diego River as a blue ribbon, has faded a little. Time is inexorable. But the message of unity and care has touched many.

Perhaps life unspools like a river. Sources along the way expand our being. We deepen and grow. Until we finally become a part of that great ocean.

Let us sparkle along the way.

Assembling a beautiful mystery: Unfolding Humanity.

Working to complete Unfolding Humanity. Lit green lettering on the exterior of the sculpture is similar to that from the iconic movie The Matrix.
Working to complete Unfolding Humanity. Lit green lettering on the exterior of the sculpture is similar to that from the movie The Matrix.

Late today I swung by the University of San Diego to see something extraordinary.

The San Diego Geometry Lab, with the help of the San Diego Collaborative Arts Project (SDCAP) and the University of San Diego (USD) Applied Mathematics program, is building a complex interactive sculpture called Unfolding Humanity. For a few minutes I admired the metal sculpture which stood outside by a campus parking lot, and watched as USD students and faculty worked to carefully assemble it.

Unfolding Humanity will be on public display this year during Burning Man, and the weekend of Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.

Once completed, people will be able to stand inside the hollow, 12 foot tall dodecahedron. When the mirrored sides fold close, those inside will see their myriad reflections amid thousands of programmable star-like LEDs. They will seem to stand at the center of the universe. The fantastic effect will almost certainly inspire awe and provoke thought. Awe at the beautiful symmetry and complexity of the universe, and thought about its mathematical structure and our place inside it.

This very cool sculpture is fascinating on various levels. The Matrix-like chamber provokes questions about the relationship between technology and humanity. The opening pentagonal walls relate to Albrecht Dürer’s 500-year-old mathematical problem concerning the unfolding of polyhedra. Most interesting to me, the mathematical structure of the universe, based on observations of cosmic radiation, is thought to resemble that of a dodecahedron–the shape of Unfolding Humanity. Standing inside the sculpture might in some way help us sense the mysterious structure of the cosmos itself.

This artwork reminds us all that the universe’s existence, and our existence inside it, is ultimately a profound mystery. As the Unfolding Humanity website states: We human beings do not know who we are, and that is who we are.

Today when I attended Unfolding Humanity’s announced debut, I was under the impression the project was completed. But it turns out construction is ongoing. I learned the interactive sculpture should be finished in perhaps a week or so.

Please visit the San Diego Geometry Lab website. You’ll learn more about the artwork’s conception, historical significance and symbolism. You’ll see cool external and internal renderings of Unfolding Humanity based on a computer model, plus an animation of how it will open and close once completed!

Students, faculty and interested visitors watch work being done on Unfolding Humanity during its debut at University of San Diego.
Students, faculty and interested visitors watch work being done on Unfolding Humanity during its debut at University of San Diego.
Exterior panels haven't been attached to this side of the enormous Unfolding Humanity dodecahedron yet.
Exterior panels haven’t been attached to this side of the enormous Unfolding Humanity dodecahedron yet.
Unfolding Humanity, once completed, will make the mystery of human existence in a beautifully mysterious universe come to life.
Unfolding Humanity, once completed, will make the mystery of human existence in a beautifully mysterious universe come to life.

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!

Powerful mural inside Centro Cultural de la Raza.

Tezcatlipoca, jaguar, god of night, war and destruction, dominates the dark, violent left section of the large mural inside Centro Cultural de la Raza.
Tezcatlipoca, jaguar, god of night, war and destruction, dominates the dark, violent left section of the large mural inside Centro Cultural de la Raza.

Step inside Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park and you’ll come face to face with a large and very powerful mural. It was created by Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda, completed in 1984 after 13 years of inspired work.

The mural, titled La Dualidad, tells the grand story of the universe, humanity, and America’s indigenous peoples. Elements from Mesoamerican literature are included in the story, including diverse symbols from Aztec, Mayan and Native American cultures.

It’s a story primarily about darkness and light. Two ancient gods are juxtaposed: Tezcatlipoca, god of darkness, against Quetzalcoatl, god of light. War is contrasted with peace. Despair is contrasted with hope. Fear is contrasted with confidence.

Should you visit Centro Cultural de la Raza to admire La Dualidad, be sure to open up the nearby binder. It details the meaning of each ancient symbol inside the mural. They combine to form a timeless wisdom that will touch your mind and heart.

The Tree of Life stands at the center of the powerful symbolic mural La Dualidad--The Duality, 1970-1984, by artist Guillermo "Yermo" Aranda.
The Tree of Life stands at the center of the powerful symbolic mural La Dualidad–The Duality, 1970-1984, by artist Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda.
Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent, wise creator of humankind, moves through the mural and finally faces the viewer from the center of a pyramid, amid symbols of life and light.
Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent, wise creator of humankind, moves through the mural and finally faces the viewer from the center of a pyramid, amid symbols of life and light.

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!

The beauty of coiled, knotted, magical ropes.

Late yesterday I sat for a spell on the poop deck of Star of India, gazing out across San Diego Bay. The cool sea breeze felt so refreshing after a day of summer heat. White sails traversing the sparkling water gave my eyes a welcome rest.

As my attention shifted, I became aware of the tall ship’s ropes that rose in a web all around me. Many were fastened to a row of wooden belaying pins along the ship’s rail.

Those beautiful ropes seemed like magic. Silent and unbreakable, coiled and knotted–twisted, mysterious, purposeful. Threading together a small wind-tossed world.

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 skeleton in plain sight.

Sometimes I lie awake in the middle of the night, thoughts tumbling through the darkness. Sometimes an uninvited notion enters my skull.

You, too, might share this uncomfortable realization.

I recently published a short story. It’s titled Skeleton Forgiveness.

You can read my very short work of fiction by clicking here.

Lingering in sunlight at the edge of an ocean.

Today I found myself walking through Coronado.

The sunshine was strong. I settled on a bench facing a margin of white beach and let my mind wander.

I and many others were sitting, relaxing, playing, speaking, thinking, soaking in one more summer at the edge of an ocean. A canvas of wide blue unrolled into the distance. Tiny glints of light beckoned from very far away.

My eyes were drawn irresistibly to a mystery beyond the horizon.

As our eyes rise to peer beyond life’s ebb and flow, we drift to strange places beyond our reach.

My photographs have been altered slightly. You might recognize Point Loma, Mexico and the small, rocky Coronado Islands that jut from the ocean a bit southwest of Tijuana.

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!

To read a few small stories that I’ve written, wander over to Short Stories by Richard.