Our tribute to Dr. Leo Buscaglia started a day early, ultimately dedicating two sunsets in his memory and celebrate his life and his work.
Our original plans had been to
spend the sunset in Tilden Park, overlooking three counties--Marin, San
Francisco, and Alameda-Contra Costa. Instead we spent the sunset on July
17th overlooking the Peace Grove at this spot.
July 17, 1998
The days of Hug week in California were in the 100o F range, the first big heat wave for the summer. We were seeking a cool spot for running on the 17th and went to one of our favorite spots along the Nimitz Trail in Berkeley's Tilden Park. As we ran along the ridge, the cooling breeze came up over the bay. We ran and watched the sun rays diffusing through the redwoods, casting a magical quality in these groves.
We ran past a group sitting playing a guitar, joyfully singing songs as they watched the setting sun. We ran through the eucalyptus trees, with the strong cleansing scent from this grove cutting through my residual stress from the 24-hour-shift on the 16th.
The trail continues past the peace grove and up the hill on to the top of the peace monument look-out. From this vantage point you can see three counties. I felt lucky that we were at this place to be able to enjoy the dusk--alone.
At this point there is an stone monument which reads as follows:
Rotary Park of Berkeley
East Bay Regional Park District
As the wind came up from San Francisco Bay for the first time that day, I felt cool. I stood on the top of the monument and just let the wind blow around me, listening to the distant noises of the cities surrounding us, and realizing how lucky we were to be experiencing the sunset from our vantage point, and how many were missing out on the "free show". It was a wonderful place to be enjoying the last rays of the day. I felt very much at peace.
July 18, 1998
Another day of over 100o F and we were looking for a cool place to be. We decided to go to Marin County, to get to the Coast. This time we headed to Mt. Tamalpais area (seen as the mountain off in the distance in the sunset above).
Starting at the Pan Toll station, we took the Matt Davis Trail towards the coast. The summer heat had dried up many of the spring flowers we had seen several months ago, but I was still amazed at the array of wildflowers surviving the summer temperatures. I was concerned that we were going to be 'too late' for the sunset, but rounded the corner nearing the Coastal Trail and were greeted by the Sun rays over the Pacific Ocean and the welcome cooling winds.
From this point we started climbing up the hill on the Coastal Trail on a section dedicated as the Bob Cook (Memorial) Trail (1959-1979). I later discovered this part of the trail was conceived as his eagle scout project and with his persistence, dedication and volunteer labor over two years the section was created. He died on the way to do more trail work in Idaho, the year both of us graduated from high school.
As we were climbing the 1500'
to the top looking for a better vantage point, I saw the sun set behind
the hill. Nearing the top we stumbled across one of the revered areas on
Mt. Tamalpias, O'Rourke's Bench. This bench carved out from rocks with
laurel trees overhead, gives one a spectacular view over to San Francisco
(from the North) and the vast Pacific Ocean). Richard Festus "Dad" O'Rourke
referred to this his favorite resting spot as the "Edge of the World"
I wondered if they were there in memory of Leo and his teachings, but did not want to disturb them by asking. Each were lost in the sunset and in their enjoyment of the moment. We were all at the ocean, noticing the sunset and experiencing the 'Joy of the Moment.'
I had been concerned that we
had 'missed' the sun actually setting on the horizon, as we climbed up
the hill. But, as often happens when we diverge from our original mapped
path, we discovered something different, confirming (as Cole and I frequently
do) that this was the route we needed to take. I had seen a spot on the
map earlier and wondered what significance 'Dad' O'Rourke's Bench had.
On this unplanned side jaunt, we discovered the 'Edge of the World' a place
dedicated in Joyful Celebration. What a tribute to Leo! I also thought
about this 'Dad' O'Rourke who was alive and hiking at age 76 in 1927!!
What a tribute to Wilderness Therapy!
There was a feeling of 'love' in the air. I could hear a couple laughing in the distance. Someone below me was cheering as the sunset, raising a glass in a toast. As I hugged my husband with the setting sun behind us, I realized how lucky I was to be in the moment with someone I love at this incredible spot watching the sunset over the ocean. The ocean wind picked up, blowing it's cooling, soothing and healing mists...surrounding us with a feeling of love and joy. I moved to stand on a rock with the wind blowing around me, an incredible feeling of freedom and energy came with the wind.
It was a time and a moment to imprint and pull out during times of stress or sorrow...
The edge tempts me to fall.
The wind carries the soothing sound of the waves,
a lulling voice of nature.
This Force blows against me,
trying to make me falter
to lose my footing
the fields of gold unable to withstand the pressure
yield to this force of nature.
I watch this display of nature's power
and face into the gusts
determined not to bend.
Amazed at my own power,
I stand firm and strong against these elements,
and the temptation.
The wind shifts
unable to alter my course
and carries a presence of an eternal force of love.
I am lost in this sunset moment
overwhelmed by a feeling of determination
I believe Leo would have been
very proud to see so much Joy in the Moment.
As I prepared this page, I picked up Leo's Love book, looking for a quote. What I found instead was the following, his motivation for starting the courses. Did I have a sense of that student when I wrote the poem above...I do not know? This was the poem that came to me when I sat down to write about Leo's sunset.
From Leo's Love book:
As part of my enjoyment, I took
several photos of the ending sunset with the winds. These will go off to
the developer soon and will appear on the site once developed.