Life returns to Balboa Park one strange summer.

It’s late summer. It has been a very strange year.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives. But even though we still wear face masks and keep our social distance, there’s a sense in Balboa Park that a more normal life is slowly returning.

Earlier in the spring and summer the park was eerily quiet. But in the past week I’ve noticed growing numbers of visitors. There seems to be a desire to recover a small part of a disrupted summer.

Some of the museums have reopened. Vendors and street performers along El Prado are back. Picnics on the grass have become numerous. People are once again posing for pictures by the lily pond.

The sunshine and beautiful flowers never went away.

I took these photographs during walks through Balboa Park yesterday and on Labor Day.

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!

We rise by lifting up!

Can your spirits be lifted by an old faded mural in a city alley?

Of course!

I spied a smiling sun and moon near the intersection of University Avenue and 46th Street in City Heights. The enduring message: WE RISE BY LIFTIN.

And I smiled, 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!

The cool UC San Diego Solar Chill!

Here’s something cool that I discovered today during my walk through UC San Diego!

This tree-like, sculpture-like, raised solar panel thingy is called the UC San Diego Solar Chill. It stands next to Scholars Drive North directly across from the Rady School of Management building.

As you can see from the sign, Solar Chill was designed by UCSD students who call themselves Engineers for a Sustainable World. It’s an off-the-grid charging station that’s perfect for both stressed students and their electrical devices! Anyone can recharge while sitting on one of the nearby benches, and simply chill!

A great idea! Renewable solar energy, plus a sunny outdoor gathering place where students might set their phones and laptops down for a few minutes and perhaps talk eye to eye with each other!

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!

Sunflowers on the Silver Strand.

There were many empty picnic benches on the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach today.

I chose a shady one that faced these bright sunflowers. Then I took out a notebook and struggled with my writing.

Words never seem adequate.

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 you’d like to read an inspirational little story about sunflowers and human kindness, click here!

Sunlight illuminates beauty in Alcazar Garden.

If you’ve ever wandered about Balboa Park in the late afternoon, and found yourself walking along El Prado directly next to the Alcazar Garden, you’ve probably seen the bright leaves.

I headed that way today.

For eyes turned toward the Alcazar Garden, the sunlight was illuminating great beauty.

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!

Walking along the beaches of Vacation Isle.

Yesterday I walked along the beaches of Vacation Isle, which is an island located at the center of enormous Mission Bay.

Many people were out enjoying the sunshine on a summer Sunday. They sat on the sand or nearby grass talking, eating, enjoying life. All sorts of boats were in the water, including kayaks, sailboats and personal watercraft.

Vacation Isle is a kind of paradise, as you can see in my photographs.

I just walked along, taking it all in.

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!

Sunday afternoon’s bright sails and kites!

Many bright dreams took flight this Sunday afternoon. I saw them in the sky above San Diego Bay.

The sails of tacking boats were flapping in the breeze.

Colorful kites were swaying back and forth, tugging eagerly at their strings high above Embarcadero Marina Park North.

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 hidden paradise in San Clemente Canyon!

You’d assume a hiking trail beside a freeway wouldn’t be beautiful.

Not when it’s a trail through enormous willows, oaks and sycamores in San Clemente Canyon!

Marian Bear Memorial Park occupies this narrow canyon between North Clairemont and University City–and so does California State Route 52. But when you hike by the creek through the many trees, which conceal the freeway, you quickly tune out the muffled noise of traffic. Your mind is busy with the surrounding beauty.

It’s everywhere.

Today around noontime I started from the Genesee Avenue trailhead and walked east. I passed under a freeway on-ramp, over stones in shallow muddy water, and entered a hidden paradise in the middle of the city.

The trail was easy. There were benches for resting. There was plenty of shade. I saw many birds. High above the trees I glimpsed a red-tailed hawk.

I saw families with smiling kids enjoying a day in nature. Bring water and sturdy shoes!

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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Happy street art near El Cajon and 54th.

Be happy. Be bright. Be YOU.
Be happy. Be bright. Be YOU.

I was walking along El Cajon Boulevard just east of 54th Street–part of the El Cerrito neighborhood–when I noticed lots of fun street art painted on electrical boxes.

I took photos!

Sometimes you have to make your own sunshine.
Sometimes you have to make your own sunshine.

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 most beautiful garden reopens!

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is reopening!

Today was the first day that members could enjoy the garden. Starting on Monday, June 22, this most beautiful garden will be open to the public!

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, face coverings and social distancing will be required.

I got off from work early today, so I headed into Balboa Park and found myself at the entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden renewing my annual membership. Then I stepped into the garden. And I immediately lost myself in the tranquil beauty.

Sunlight touched green leaves. Water sparkled and splashed. Birds took flight as I moved from shadow to light. My mind calmed. I again understood the true beauty of life and this 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!