Pumping sewage and Emerson’s mutable cloud.

What words would you expect to read on the side of a sewage pumping station?

Caution? Beware of spill? In case of vile stink, call an emergency phone number immediately?

Pump Station #4 in Point Loma is different. You can find it at the corner of Carleton Street and Shafter Street, near the entrance to Shelter Island. Large words on the small pump station might cause those walking by to stop and wonder. Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.

It’s a quote by transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you think about it, sewage is simply another part of nature. And it’s a sort of mutable cloud, always and never the same. It’s a liquidy cloud that’s kept safely unseen and unsmelled.

This very unusual public art was created by Marcos Ramirez and Teddy Cruz. The otherwise ugly cinder block pump station was painted blue and made interesting with an adjacent sculpture of beams, and the steel lattice on two sides containing Emerson’s strangely appropriate philosophical quote.

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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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.

The answer to hate, violence and anger.

In this old world, there seems to be no shortage of hate, violence and anger.

In my experience, there’s only one answer to all that is negative.

Love.

A positive, unselfish love for one another.

During my walks around San Diego, I’ve photographed many words and images that express a simple idea: We should love one another.

And why not?

Life is short for every one of us.

Only love in our hearts gives us true fulfillment.

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!

Complex people in a complex city.

The immense complexity of the city and its people is evident in every one of my walks.

A city is like a small slice of the larger human world. Many individuals heading in different directions, or forward together…talking or silently thinking…interacting in the places where they work, rest, shop, live. You see the complexity in the streets signs and the architecture, in restaurant menus and colorful store windows. You see it on the active sidewalks, in styles of dress, facial expressions, postures of ambition or resignation. A city and its people are too complicated to ever adequately describe.

Much of the complexity rises from the ongoing tangle of human desires, predilections, emotions. One thing that seems constant in the world is human yearning. And those yearnings often create tension.

Today I walked around downtown. I came upon a political rally at the County Administration Building. Roused citizens, desiring liberty, were chafing at the slow reopening of society during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They expressed their reasons. They yearned for individual liberty. But others in our society yearn for collective security. It’s that never-ending political conflict.

As I continued my walk, I turned my eyes upward to see the mysterious, ordered windows where different people work and live. And I looked at the intersecting streets and sidewalks, where separate lives move forward.

All that human complexity makes a city what it is. It also makes every single walk every single day fascinating. And thought-provoking.

Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when the city seems more lonely and troubled than usual.

He was simply resting in the sun.

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!

If the above images feel almost like a poem, it was my intention. To read a few philosophical stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

A short story about how we are made of stars.

I finished writing another short story. This once has the simple title Twinkle.

Once upon a time I studied physics in college. Back then I learned that the elements composing you and I and the entire world were forged in the furnaces of stars. (Mostly, that is.)

A month or so ago I was out on one of my walks, moving through a poorer neighborhood, when I saw flowering weeds in the bare dirt of a front yard. And the seed for a philosophical story entered my mind.

The short story that finally grew and matured you can read here.

A very short story with a surprise ending.

Do you like to read stories with surprise endings?

I finished writing another very short story. This one features a turn of events at the end that is completely unexpected. The story is titled Poem to Myself.

Like most of my fiction this piece is a bit philosophical, and it contains both darkness and light.

How is that possible when the main character is a self-centered creep?

There’s a poem in it somewhere? Will the light triumph?

Read it here to see what happens!

Bittersweet window art during the pandemic.

IMG_7602z Life is a blessing and a heartache. Love one another.
Life is a blessing and a heartache. Love one another.

I saw some bittersweet art in Bankers Hill today as I walked up a sidewalk past the windows of a small business. I’m not certain, but I believe this artwork was created during the present coronavirus pandemic.

Powerful words in one window are both uplifting and heartbreaking. Several images nearby include a girl on a swing wearing a face covering, which I photographed.

I notice many people are becoming more philosophical lately.

Pondering life.

Thinking about the human heart.

Assessing what is truly important.

Art in a Bankers Hill window during the coronavirus pandemic. A girl on a swing...with a face covering.
Art in a Bankers Hill window during the coronavirus pandemic. A girl on a swing…with a face covering.

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.

Strange geometries on the G Street Pier.

The crazy tangle of fishing nets, lobster traps, rusty chains, floats, pallets and miscellaneous junk on the G Street Pier is wonderful beyond description.

The pier was open today, so I walked out on it.

Not only did I stride over the beautiful bay, with fishing boats floating before the San Diego skyline, and gulls wheeling overhead, but I felt I was moving through a fundamental Truth of this world made visible. Mathematical truth. Divine truth.

Were great philosophers walking with me, what would they conclude?

To help bring out some of the geometry–the ordered symmetry and fractured chaos–I’ve added a whole lot of contrast to these photographs.

IMG_6820z

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!

The remains of Mardi Gras, and glitter ashes.

Mardi Gras has come and gone. Today some of the revelers will be observing Ash Wednesday.

I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter this morning and saw the remains of Mardi Gras.

Then I spotted smiles and glitter ashes at the Old Town trolley station…

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 philosophical bits of fiction I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

A tiny story, or poem, about a stone garden.

Forgive me for mentioning my writing website Short Stories by Richard again.

Today I sat for several minutes at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park gazing out at the Karesansui, or Dry Stone Garden. I must’ve entered a meditative state of mind, because as I viewed the ruggedly beautiful stones and perfectly raked gravel a vision came to me.

In the past I learned the significance of the elements in a Japanese rock garden, so this tiny three sentence story, or poem, which I titled Across the Stone Garden, might not be entirely original or surprising.

But I think it’s a bit magical, and you might like it anyway.

To read it, click here.