A poet, a didgeridoo, and Balboa Park.

I spent a couple hours today with my friend Mitchell. He plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park.

We went on a walk and got lunch at the Japanese Tea Pavilion. Then I listened for a while to his extraordinary pulsating music.

During the concert a traveling poet came by, watched and listened.

After I said goodbye to Mitchell and began down El Prado, I came upon the poet sitting at a small table before his manual typewriter.

His name is Ben Bernthal. He will write an original poem based on words passersby give him. I gave him the word “didgeridoo.”

What I received was an exceptional piece of poetry and a friendly chat.

After I headed off on my way, it occurred to me that Balboa Park is one enormous, colorful poem. In the way every life is a sort of poem.

Visit Ben Bernthal’s website and learn more about a really great writer by clicking here. You can request a poem online. He will type the poem on high quality paper and mail it to you!

Better yet, if you’re in San Diego, look for him sitting at his typewriter in Balboa Park . . . before life’s grand adventure turns him elsewhere.

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!

Simple messages and poems giving thanks.

Thanksgiving arrives tomorrow.

Today I thought I’d go through thousands of old photos and find examples of street art that include the words “Thank you” or whose central theme is gratitude.

I found almost none.

Many of the beautiful murals and painted electrical boxes I’ve photographed over the years encourage the viewer to be or do something. Be kind, be brave, be inspired, be strong, fight for a cause, love, hope, laugh, smile, be yourself…

Only a small handful of messages concern gratitude, or directly say thank you.

And these tend to be written in chalk or very simply.

Why is this?

I do know that to acknowledge indebtedness to others requires humility.

I fell a far distance –
You caught me many, many
Times – Awoken revived thankful
to be alive – Living is a privilege
Take care – See the life you’ve
been given – Cherish it

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!

Cardiff’s beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

Beautiful flowers by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
Beautiful greenery by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is being transformed into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Cardiff Rail Trail is a relatively new segment of the much longer Coastal Rail Trail, that when finally completed will link San Diego to Oceanside.

Right next to the Cardiff Rail Trail is a garden-like linear park. From what I can gather, this old park maintained by the Cardiff Botanical Society was originally named the Carpentier Parkway, and is now being revamped, turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. I don’t know that much about the project, apart from a few pages I found searching the internet. The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation was also instrumental in creating the Harbaugh Seaside Trails at the north end of Solana Beach between Highway 101 and the train tracks.

Yesterday I walked a short distance through the somewhat ragged but quite beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. Starting at Chesterfield Drive just east of the train tracks, turning off from the paved Cardiff Rail Trail, I walked north up a winding dirt path between flowers, trees, plaques and a sculpture.

I had to brush a thin layer of dirt from engraved pavers and stones.

Enjoy these photographs. I’ve transcribed some of the words that I found on plaques and a weathered sign in a kiosk…

The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.
The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.

I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.
I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.

Bird of Paradise

Lord sent me to this world
as a soul trapped in a human body,
like a bird trapped in a cage
I am waiting for the day
that the Lord will fly me back home.
–Rumi

In memory of my daughter
Chantal Paydar

“Carpentier Parkway proves it is possible to provide beautiful, lush, flowered garden landscaping while using 75% less irrigation water without resorting to using desert plants. This park in downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea covers the area between San Elijo and the railway tracks from Birmingham to Chesterfield and used to be an ugly patch of weeds…”

Dedicated to the memory of Wayne Holden and to the Honor of all the Volunteers who have given time and donations for the Carpentier Parkway. 1999.

The Cardiff Chamber of Commerce commissioned the statue to be sculptured for Wayne Holden, who died at 47 years old… James Pugh, Sculpturer…

A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.
A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.

There was a lovely lady from Singapore
Whose humor was great and tales were lore
With a laugh so infectious none could ignore
For all that knew her till the age of eighty-four.

In memory of Kathleen Jack 1928-2013

Good Morning Cardiff by the Sea
Darreld Kitaen 10/2/36 – 1/3/19
Happy Days – Love and Peace

In Loving Memory
Richard W. (Dick) Kratzer

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!

Six names on six benches.

Around noon today I sat down, opened a book.

I’d taken a walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea and had found a perfect shady bench in Glen Park.

Below in the distance people were darting about the basketball court shooting hoops. One person missed, madly whirled, lunged forward, fell back, reached, barely intercepted, passed, darted, jumped impossibly high, caught, shot again, swished, shouted happily.

Upon finishing a chapter, I got up and gathered my stuff. The bench I’d been sitting on had a plaque. “Gotta go, gotta ride.”

It felt like the perfect small poem.

I found six names on six empty benches.

Every word shined.

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!

Contemporary art created by thousands.

This morning, as I walked through downtown along Kettner Boulevard, I had to pause for a few moments in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Right smack dab in front of my eyes was some of the most amazing contemporary art.

What I saw was fantastic, complex, perplexing, sublime. The artwork contained numberless potential meanings, contrasts, mysteries. And it was created by the thoughts, longings and creative hands of thousands.

As clouds moved and the sun rose and a truck turned in front of me, I realized it was living art. And dangerous.

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 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!

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.

Faces painted with words of confusion, revelation.

There’s a very cool mural painted on the side of Lhooq Books & The Exrealism Nonprofit Project in Carlsbad, which occupies a small barn that was built in 1941. I happened to notice the artwork as I was walking down Carlsbad Village Drive. The artist, I learned, is professional skateboarder Kris Markovich.

Lhooq Books & The Exrealism Nonprofit Project, according to their website, is a vintage bookstore, espresso bar and underground venue, as well as the headquarters & a compound for “The Exrealism Project.”

Many phrases are written inside the mural’s abstract human faces. The words–which together read like a two dimensional poem or stream of consciousness–are raw and very real.

The words are disturbing and inspiring. They are disjointed and profound. They are expressions of doubt, and frustration, and confusion, and revelation.

The words tumble directly from a personal experience of life.

It is a mural painted with life.

DO THESE THOUGHTS SCARE YOU . . . THESE WORDS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD
DO THESE THOUGHTS SCARE YOU . . . THESE WORDS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD

EXREALISM MY REDEMPTION
EXREALISM MY REDEMPTION

the thawing of your heart
the thawing of your heart

STUCK ONE PLACE BEHIND
STUCK ONE PLACE BEHIND

OPEN YOUR EYES YOU MIGHT LIKE WHAT YOU FIND
OPEN YOUR EYES YOU MIGHT LIKE WHAT YOU FIND

EGO KILLER
EGO KILLER

We're all mad here.
We’re all mad here.

YOUR WORRIES ARE JUSTIFIED . . . BROKEN PROMISE
YOUR WORRIES ARE JUSTIFIED . . . BROKEN PROMISE

WORDS . . .OPEN FOR THE TAKING
WORDS . . .OPEN FOR THE TAKING . . . MEANING

THE LURK IN THE BUSHES KIND OF WEIRD
THE LURK IN THE BUSHES KIND OF WEIRD

i don't know
i don’t know

BLEED FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
BLEED FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS

YOU WANT THE BEAUTIFUL
YOU WANT THE BEAUTIFUL

What someone thinks of you is NONE of your business.
What someone thinks of you is NONE of your business.

I USED TO THINK I WAS AN ARTIST BUT I NO LONGER THINK ABOUT IT . . . I AM.
I USED TO THINK I WAS AN ARTIST BUT I NO LONGER THINK ABOUT IT . . . I AM.

We ALL suffer.
We ALL suffer.

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 sidewalk poem expresses gratitude.

Grateful words. A chalk poem on a sidewalk.
Grateful words. A chalk poem on a sidewalk.

I discovered a poem that was written on the sidewalk yesterday. Chalk words express gratitude.

You might enjoy reading this simple, heartfelt poetry:

I fell a far distance –
You caught me many, many
Times – Awoken revived thankful
to be alive – Living is a privilege
Take care – See the life you’ve
been given – Cherish it

A travelling poet and a bagpiper in Balboa Park.

Today I met two cool people during my walk around Balboa Park. One is a travelling poet, the other a Scottish bagpiper.

The poet’s name is DJ Leary. You can find him online @wordsbydj.

Danny was perched in front of an old manual typewriter by the entrance to the Casa Del Prado Theater. Inspired words were pouring (pounding?) out from his fingertips for curious passersby. I peered over his shoulder at sudden lines of truth. We talked just a little. We shared some experiences. I could tell in an instant that Danny loves writing and life’s endless mystery.

I urge you to go here and read some of his poems.

The bagpiper is Frank Hunter. He’s a member of the House of Scotland Pipe Band. I met him while I was walking across the grass at the International Cottages.

Frank kindly introduced me to the bagpipes: their ancient origin, evolution and important role in history. He brought out his instrument, assembled it, tuned it, and performed. He told me about his own heritage and how the Highland Light Infantry is his family regiment. He had much to say, and all of it was immensely fascinating.

I’ve heard Frank playing bagpipes around Balboa Park before, and I urge visitors to the park to listen for their unmistakable voice. You will not be disappointed.

Balboa Park is full of amazing people.

Simply smile and say hello.

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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!