A heart on the ground. Music on a rooftop.

A couple days ago I noticed two hearts while walking through downtown.

One was lying on the hard sidewalk, protected with sharp barbs. The other was up on a rooftop, in a musician playing violin. The musician’s heart was precarious, vulnerable and free.

Do you protect your heart? Do you express it?

To read thoughtful short stories about the complex human condition, click Short Stories by Richard.

Intertribal dancing at Balboa Park Pow Wow.

My walking adventure today took me through Balboa Park and North Park.

I paused for a bit to watch the joyful intertribal dancing at the 31st Annual Balboa Park Pow Wow.

The Balboa Park Pow Wow, which is held on Mother’s Day weekend, is organized by the San Diego American Indian Health Center. The traditional event features Kumeyaay Bird Singers, Gourd Dancing, and a variety of Native American drum groups.

Many diverse peoples, colors and dances came together in a celebration of 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!

Japanese music, pottery in Balboa Park.

Today I walked into the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park just in time to listen to a wonderful small concert.

I seemed to drift into a living dream as I listened to extraordinarily beautiful music played on the traditional Japanese koto and shakuhachi. The musicians, Kyoko Takeda and Jon Crick, talked about the pieces they performed, and the instruments they played.

I heard flowing streams, and the wind, and deer calling, and raindrops, and notes rising and falling, and echoing mysteries, and perhaps even a whisper of the essence of life.

After the concert, I walked about the Exhibit Hall and enjoyed looking at the current exhibition, which is titled Tradition and Beyond. Five talented San Diego potters have used traditional Japanese ceramic techniques to create organic pieces. I saw a flowing, easy, natural beauty, spun carefully from the human spirit, much like music.

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 stories I’ve written, visit Short Stories by Richard.

Ceramic faces express humanity and heart.

I’ve always loved Spanish Village in Balboa Park. I still remember going there as a young adult and immediately feeling a sort of spiritual connection. One feels free and alive in this magical place.

Today I was walking through Spanish Village when I paused outside Studio 13. My feet are often drawn to this particular studio. I’m not sure why.

Sylvia Mejia, the ceramics artist who works in Studio 13, and I spoke a few friendly words. She invited me inside.

I found myself surrounded by many faces.

Happy faces.

Soulful faces.

Expressive, deeply human faces.

Have a look with me:

Sylvia Mejia, in Spanish Village Art Center's fantastic Studio 13, surrounded by her ceramic creations.
Sylvia Mejia, in Spanish Village Art Center’s fantastic Studio 13, surrounded by her ceramic creations.

May you live all the days of your life.
May you live all the days of your 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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Fresh street art along 30th Street in North Park.

Some panels on a mural on Gunn Street west of 30th Street have been repainted. The two shown are by Jorge Gutierrez and Maxx Moses.
Some panels on a mural on Gunn Street west of 30th Street have been repainted. The two shown are by Jorge Gutierrez and Maxx Moses.

North Park is brimming with street art. During a walk yesterday down 30th Street, from University Avenue to Upas Street, I encountered fresh artwork that I haven’t blogged in the past. You can see some of those old photos here and here and here.

As I proceeded down the sidewalk I noticed that a number of electrical boxes and walls have been repainted in the past couple years.

Enjoy these new photos. North Park is alive with creativity!

This box showing the four cardinal directions has been repainted by Jonny Alexander.
This box showing the four cardinal directions has been repainted by Jonny Alexander.
East.
East.
South.
South.
West.
West.
A purple claw has emerged from this electrical box!
A scary purple claw has emerged from this crate-like electrical box!
The yellow eyes of a mysterious monster peer out!
The yellow eyes of a mysterious monster peer out!
Let's be friends. That love potion appears intoxicating . . . and possibly toxic!
Let’s be friends. That love potion appears intoxicating . . . and possibly toxic!
A skull in a bottle. Sink or swim.
A skull in a bottle. Sink or swim.
More fun street art on the same utility box on 30th Street in North Park.
More fun street art on the same utility box on 30th Street in North Park.
Stenciled on a wall. For my hustlers, here's some motivation. He who has begun is half done.
Stenciled on a wall. For my hustlers, here’s some motivation. He who has begun is half done.
A cute little critter that seems to be inside a living heart.
A cute little critter that seems to be inside a living heart.
Exotic street art on an electrical box.
Exotic street art on an electrical box.
Strength through Peace.
Strength through Peace.
Three sitting female figures contain spiritual symbolism.
Three sitting female figures contain spiritual symbolism.
A wild splash of color.
A wild splash of color.
Mural on side of 30th Street Laundry. A Beautiful Morning by Sentrock.
Mural on side of 30th Street Laundry. A Beautiful Morning by Sentrock.
An ankh symbolizing life in the hand of a lady with colorful abstract hair.
An ankh symbolizing life in the hand of a lady with colorful abstract hair.
Fun robot graphic on the front wall of Soi 30th, a North Park Thai Eatery.
Fun robot graphic on the front wall of Soi 30th, a North Park Thai Eatery.
A cool Pangea Seed Foundation Sea Wall created in North Park by Lauren YS. A beautiful underwater mermaid is contrasted with a skeleton.
A cool Pangea Seed Foundation Sea Wall created in North Park by Lauren YS. A beautiful underwater mermaid is contrasted with a skeleton.
The mural concerns ocean acidification and the resulting death of kelp and sea life.
The mural concerns ocean acidification and the resulting death of kelp and sea life.
San Diego Padres baseball player under painted fireworks.
San Diego Padres baseball player under painted fireworks.
This final North Park electrical box was painted last month. You can find it on Upas Street east of 30th Street, in front of The Taco Stand.
This final North Park electrical box was painted last month. You can find it on Upas Street east of 30th Street, in front of The Taco Stand.
An old salt by the ocean and a sailing ship.
An old salt by the ocean and a sailing ship.
A friar by the old mission.
A friar by the old mission.
Hecho a Mano. Made by hand.
Hecho a Mano. Made by hand.

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Inspiration found in small scenes of beauty.

Whenever I forget to look closely at the world, I miss the hidden beauty. And the unexpected inspiration.

These photographs were all taken today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

This special garden’s breathtaking beauty has inspired several very short stories. I wrote A Short BloomThe Child and the Koi and Waterfall Tears while sitting quietly by the stream that bubbles through the canyon.

I hope these photos–these small scenes of beauty–inspire you, too.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my other photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Day of the Dead celebration at the Old Globe.

Day of the Dead altar created by the Old Globe Theatre contains photos of departed loved ones, roses, candles, and an image of Shakespeare.
Day of the Dead altar created by the Old Globe Theatre contains photos of departed loved ones, roses, candles, and an image of Shakespeare.

For several hours today, visitors to Balboa Park could enjoy traditional Dia de los Muertos activities in Copley Plaza, at the entrance to the Old Globe’s theater complex. The event’s main attraction was two performances of a powerful new play called La Muerte Descansa en Paz (Death Rests in Peace). The first performance was in Spanish, the second mostly in English.

The brief but emotionally stirring play, directed and co-created by Daniel Jáquez, was presented for the very first time on Saturday during the SAY San Diego’s City Heights Day of the Dead Celebration. The production is the result of a collaboration between the Old Globe’s coLAB and AXIS programs and the San Diego community of City Heights.

Here are some photos of today’s event!

Day of the Dead--Dia de los Muertos--was celebrated today in Copley Plaza, outside the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in Balboa Park.
Day of the Dead–Dia de los Muertos–was celebrated today in Copley Plaza, outside the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in Balboa Park.
A Dia de los Muertos altar remembers and celebrates those who've passed out of life. Their spirits are enticed to return among the living.
A Dia de los Muertos altar remembers and celebrates those who’ve passed into the next world. Their spirits are enticed to return among the living.
A loving tribute to loved ones, dearly missed.
A loving tribute to relatives and loved ones, dearly missed.
Kids have their faces painted like sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos.
Kids have their faces painted like sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos.
The tools of a face painter.
The tools of a face painter.
At one table creative kids could color Dia de los Muertos skulls.
At one table creative kids could color Dia de los Muertos skulls.
Shakespeare among Dia de los Muertos skulls. Perhaps one belonged to Yorick.
Shakespeare among Dia de los Muertos skulls. Perhaps that one in the center belonged to Yorick.
A performance of La Muerte Descansa en Paz (Death Rests in Peace) begins. The dead enter in front of a living audience.
A performance of La Muerte Descansa en Paz (Death Rests in Peace) begins. The dead enter in front of a living audience.
The character Death takes the stage. Death sees both sides of the river. Death sees life's joy, pain, dreams--and the souls of the departed.
The character Death takes the stage. Death sees both sides of the river. Death sees life’s joy, pain, dreams–and the souls of the departed.
The dead dance. On Dia de los Muertos, when the church bells ring, Death permits the dead to return briefly as spirits among the living.
The dead dance. On Dia de los Muertos, when the church bells ring, Death permits the dead to return briefly as spirits among the living.
A dead poet remembers the richness and brevity of life--the joy, the sorrow.
A dead poet vaguely remembers the richness and brevity of life–the sharp joys and sorrows. Her voice was cut short, but her living words linger.
The dead briefly take the stage. We, the living, experience a glimpse, a whisper, a moment of lost love.
The dead briefly take the stage. We, the living, experience a glimpse, a whisper, a moment of lost love.

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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