Wise words inspire readers at the San Diego Library.

We read to know we are not alone. Wise words inscribed in the San Diego Central Library's large, friendly Reading Room.
We read to know we are not alone. Wise words inscribed in the San Diego Central Library’s large, friendly Reading Room.

Many wise words are digested by hungry minds at the San Diego Public Library. At the Central Library in downtown San Diego, wise sayings and phrases are inscribed upon the building itself. One must simply open eyes to find inspiration.

The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a library card.
The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a library card.
If there's a book you really want to read but hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.
If there’s a book you really want to read but hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. A San Diego Trolley passes some wisdom written on the east side of the downtown public library.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. A San Diego Trolley heads down tracks past some wisdom written on the east side of the downtown public library.
Yo que me figuraba el paraiso bajo la especie de una biblioteca. From Poem of the Gifts, by Jorge Luis Borges . . . I who had always thought of Paradise in form and image as a library . . .
Yo que me figuraba el paraiso bajo la especie de una biblioteca. From Poem of the Gifts, by Jorge Luis Borges . . . I who had always thought of Paradise in form and image as a library . . .
It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
I go into my library and all history unrolls before me.
I go into my library and all history unrolls before me.
Words inscribed on steps leading to the San Diego Central Library. A portion of Maya Angelou's On the Pulse of Morning, a poem read during the 1993 Presidential Inauguration.
Words inscribed on steps leading to the San Diego Central Library. A portion of Maya Angelou’s On the Pulse of Morning, a poem read during the 1993 Presidential Inauguration.

Women, children, men, take it into the palms of your hands, mold it into the shape of your most private need. Sculpt it into the image of your most public self. Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances for new beginning.

A trolley heads down Park Boulevard past a series of wise sayings and phrases concerning books, libraries and the written word.
A trolley heads down Park Boulevard past a series of wise sayings and phrases concerning books, libraries and the written word.

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 short stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Thanksgiving wisdom on a fence.

Chalk art wisdom on a city fence. Give Thanks. Don't let the things you want make you forget the things you have.
Thanksgiving chalk art wisdom on a fence. Give Thanks. Don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have.

Just sharing some Thanksgiving wisdom. I spotted this chalk art on a fence during a walk up Fifth Avenue.

Give Thanks. Don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A mighty Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists!

The five members of The Mightier P.E.N.S. perform poetry in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden during this summer's 2016 Garden Theatre Festival.
The five members of The Mightier P.E.N.S. perform poetry in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden during this summer’s 2016 Garden Theatre Festival.

Look what I stumbled upon this afternoon during my stroll through Balboa Park! The Mightier P.E.N.S. (Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists) was performing poetry in the Zoro Garden. Balboa Park’s butterfly-filled stone grotto is the venue for a variety of poetic and theatrical performances during the Garden Theatre Festival, Saturdays and Sundays through August 21st.

I listened as the five members of The Mightier P.E.N.S. filled the air with mightily expressed emotion, striking deep chords with their words. As butterflies flitted about the garden, like beguiling not-quite-touchable-truths in the shimmering air, their spoken words conveyed an entire range of deep feeling, including human desire, elation, frustration and despair.

This energetic group of performance poets can be heard around San Diego from time to time; they appeared at the most recent San Diego Fringe Festival. They’ll be performing twice more this summer in Balboa Park. Interested? Swing by the Zoro Garden on August 14th and 21nd at 2pm. Their poetry is mightier than the sharpest sword! For further information, you can call (619) 569-4922.

While I innocently sit back and listen, I'm suddenly accosted by unabashed truths spoken during an innovative poetry performance!
While I innocently sit back and listen, I’m suddenly accosted by unabashed truths spoken during an innovative poetry performance!
Visitors to Balboa Park pause near the top of Zoro Garden and listen to The Mighty P.E.N.S. conquer . . . for a fleeting moment.
Visitors to Balboa Park pause near the top of Zoro Garden and listen to The Mightier P.E.N.S. conquer the world . . . for a fleeting moment.
One of the dynamic poets expresses innermost thoughts, desires and anguish with strong words and images pieced brilliantly together.
One of the dynamic poets expresses innermost thoughts, desires and anguish with strong words and images pieced brilliantly together.
A small crowd gathered where I was seated. As each poet completed a segment of the performance, applause erupted.
A small crowd gathered where I was seated. As each poet completed a segment of the performance, applause erupted.
The Mighty P.E.N.S. appear to be mighty friends. No words required.
The Mightier P.E.N.S. appear to be mighty friends. No words required.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! 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!

To read some philosophical short stories that I’ve written, please click Short Stories by Richard.

New mural in San Diego extols humility, nobility.

A new mural in downtown San Diego contains great wisdom, extolling two human values. Be humble. Be noble.
A new mural in downtown San Diego contains great wisdom, extolling two human values. Be humble. Be noble.

A new street mural in downtown San Diego is being completed even as I post this! It’s being painted on a large parking lot wall just south of C Street, between Front Street and 1st Avenue. Check it out!

The artist, Trek Thunder Kelly, who operates out of Venice Beach, California, is known for creating unique designs that mix oddly contrasting messages and images. The cool mural that he’s working on at this very moment is sponsored by the internet retail company Zappos, and it extols one of their stated core values: humility. I couldn’t help but notice the quote highlights another important human virtue: nobility.

Be humble. You are made of earth.
Be noble. You are made of stars.

These powerful true words come from a Serbian proverb.

When I spoke to Trek, it sounded like he’d paint some of the stars with glow-in-the-dark phosphorescent paint. At this point he has a limited supply, so it will have to be artistically applied. I can’t wait to see the completed artwork!

Be humble. You are made of earth. Be noble. You are made of stars.
Be humble. You are made of earth. Be noble. You are made of stars.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few philosophical short stories, click Short Stories by Richard.

Play and work, sadness and time.

Youth play soccer in San Diego's Waterfront Park. They are competing today in the Neymar Fives Soccer Tournament. World champs get to meet the Brazilian superstar.
Youth play soccer in San Diego’s Waterfront Park. They are competing today in the Neymar Fives Soccer Tournament. World champs get to meet the Brazilian superstar.

As usual, my walk today provoked a whole range of feelings. The four simple words: Play, Work, Sadness, Time . . . they describe a few photos that I took.

Those basic words we all understand.

Scrambling for the ball. Joy in movement, camaraderie, friendly competition. Youthful ambitions.
Scrambling for the ball. Joy in movement, camaraderie, friendly competition. Youthful ambitions.
Neymar Jr.'s Five soccer competition includes amateur teams from more than 35 countries.
Neymar Jr.’s Five soccer competition includes amateur teams from more than 35 countries.
Recreation on the green grass one promising San Diego morning.
Recreation on the green grass, one promising San Diego morning.
Strolling down the Embarcadero. Pirate Days is coming to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Let the invasion begin!
Strolling down the Embarcadero. Pirate Days is coming to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Let the invasion begin!
Containing many pleasures, the Disney Wonder cruise ship is docked in San Diego. Seen from the deck of the Star of India.
Containing many pleasures, the gleaming Disney Wonder cruise ship is docked in San Diego. Seen from the deck of the very old Star of India, where countless lives have been tossed by difficult seas.
Volunteer on Star of India is preparing to hoist this plastic cap up to the top of the foremast, which is open and exposed to the elements.
Volunteer on Star of India is preparing to hoist this plastic cap up to the top of the foremast, which is open and exposed to the eternal elements.
Other volunteers are working hard atop the forecastle. Ships require constant work, constant attention and care.
Other volunteers are working hard atop the forecastle. Ships require constant work, constant attention and care.
Climbing carefully up to the very top of the foremast to apply a protective cap, to prevent exposed iron from rusting, decaying.
Climbing carefully up to the very top of the foremast to apply a protective cap, to prevent exposed iron from rusting, decaying.
A writer sat here. Words purposefully put down . . . or discarded . . . or forgotten. Many thoughts lie alone by a bench near the water.
A writer sat here. Words purposefully put down . . . or discarded . . . or forgotten. Many thoughts lie alone by a bench near the water.
The weathered old hands of a sleeping homeless man.
The hands of a sleeping homeless man.
Time-faded monkeys still cling to the wall of a parking garage on Laurel Street.
Time-faded monkeys still cling to the wall of a parking garage on Laurel Street.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.

How to stimulate your mind, see the world more fully.

Leaf on bark.
Leaf on bark.

Life can be very busy.  Some days go by in a blur.  So I often don’t have time to fully appreciate the enormous, wonderful world that surrounds me.

That’s one reason why I love to walk, haul my camera around, and write.

Unfortunately, one must constantly attend to life’s small stuff. You know–daily business, errands, dull routines. But I’ve learned that I can always–no matter where I am or what I’m doing–open myself to new wonder. Here are a few unusual mental exercises. They help to stimulate your mind, so that you can see the world more fully.

1. Name every object you see.

That’s right! As you go about during an ordinary day, find the word or words that describe every object you happen to see. In your mind, name everything that exists in front of your eyes. Add descriptive adjectives and adverbs. You’ll see more than you did before, and perhaps in a new light. You’ll have greater awareness of the world around you, even the small details.

2. Search for objects of a specific color.

Select a random color. Then as you move through your day, consciously search your surroundings for ordinary objects of that color. Do this and you’ll become acutely aware of the appearance of things–not just their color. You’ll appreciate the world’s richness and innate beauty. You’ll see how all things fit together. Try it!

3. Search the horizon, and imagine what’s beyond it.

From time to time, when outdoors, focus your eyes on the horizon. What can you see there? Can you imagine what probably (or possibly) lies just beyond the horizon? What do you think is going on in that unseen place? Or better yet, on a pitch black night look up at the stars. What is going on there?

This exercise broadens your view of the universe and helps you grasp its entirety with your mind. That is–to the extent we humans can grasp such immensity!

4. Examine the world inches from your eyes.

Standing next to something? Put your nose right up close and examine it! Do you find yourself in a boring old office building’s lobby that has a painting on a wall? Look at the brush strokes! Waiting on a sidewalk under an ordinary tree? Look closely at the bark or the leaves!

Closely examine those things that happen to be nearby. Analyze precisely.  Renew your wonder. Perhaps pretend you’re a giant, surveying a fascinating, miniature world. Because in a sense, we all ARE giants–when the mind is stimulated, curious and growing.

5. Imagine the world in the future, or in the past.

Where are you? Slowly turn to look all around. Now imagine your immediate surroundings in the near or distant past, or in the near or distant future.

San Diego, the bustling place I call home, is relatively new compared to most cities. A couple hundred years ago–which isn’t long at all–Southern California was essentially a wilderness. So it’s interesting to imagine San Diego with no buildings, no streets, almost no sign of human life. Just canyons and hills, covered with sagebrush and dry chaparral.

How did my growing city appear a hundred years ago? Fifty years ago? And why do things appear as they do today? How might things change tomorrow? A hundred years from now? A thousand years from now? A million years from now?

This unusual mental exercise helps you to appreciate the world’s fullness in both space and time. And it stimulates your imagination!

6. Imagine people around you at different stages in life.

You and I are alike in many ways. Living life, by definition, is all that we can know. By observing the people around you more fully, perhaps you can better understand humanity and yourself.

Imagine how strangers around you might physically appear at different stages of life. Do you see an elderly person? Try to imagine how they looked when they were a child. Do you see a child? Imagine how they’ll appear when they grow old.

This is an old trick many writers use when creating a character sketch. It really makes the observer think.  It puts our short lives in perspective!

7. Ask yourself what a nearby person will do next.

Here’s another clever trick. Do you see a stranger nearby? Watch them for a bit from the corner of your eye. What do you think they’ll do next? Then afterward, ask yourself why your guess was right or wrong.

By gaining insights into human behavior, you’ll better appreciate the paths and turns of other minds. And you’ll see why humans have fashioned their world as it is. For better or worse.

And, of course, you’ll learn something about your own inclinations and perceptions.

8. Understand what people are thinking.

One more mental exercise that anyone can try. This is quite possibly the most difficult. Imagine or deduce what a nearby person is thinking. Can you see their thoughts in their eyes? In their gestures? In their actions?

How do you think they see the world?

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.

Signs containing wisdom enlighten the city.

A small handwritten sign seen in a San Diego window. The danger of falling in love is falling in love.
A small handwritten sign seen in a San Diego window. The danger of falling in love is falling in love.

Here are some wise (or seemingly wise) signs that I’ve photographed during my walks around downtown San Diego. Some enlighten passersby, some add a touch of lightness or levity to daily life.

If there is one thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that coffee is Great! Indeed, many things in life are.
If there is one thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that coffee is Great! Indeed, many things in life are.
Perhaps this is wise. Perhaps not. Play today, work mañana.
Perhaps this is wise. Perhaps not. Play today, work mañana.
Hazard. One word warns of unseen danger under the smooth, peaceful water of San Diego Bay.
Hazard. One small word to the wise, warning of unseen danger under the deceptively peaceful water of San Diego Bay.
More wisdom inside another downtown window. Live in the moment, take chances, be here now, tell someone how much they mean to you.
More wise philosophy inside a downtown window. Live in the moment, take chances, be here now, tell someone how much they mean to you.
Sign on San Diego sidewalk. With our thoughts we make the world. Buddha.
Sign on San Diego sidewalk with a powerful, insightful quote. With our thoughts we make the world. Buddha.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short philosophical stories? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.