Posted by: facetothewind | November 7, 2010

Old friends, familiar places

I’m visiting Simon in San Francisco. We’ve been friends for 16 years now.

We spent the day at San Gregorio Beach lying in the sand and having conversations about our loves, passions, addictions, joys, choir, and being young men caught in aging bodies. It’s nice to connect with someone who understands. Simon has enormous wisdom and good common sense. I’ve always found him to be refreshingly nimble of mind. We’ve seen each other through our moves to Arizona, the rising and falling of our businesses, the deaths of our best friends, the arrival and departures of several boyfriends between us and now the most weighty issue of all…aging. It’s a conversation that seems to have been rudely ushered in by a certain young man’s departure from my life.

Being with a beautiful young man seemed to somehow deliver me from the evil of that conversation on growing old. I guess I felt that with a younger boyfriend, I had a reasonable expectation of a pleasant old age. Now my future seems very uncertain.

I find myself distracted with work and socializing in San Francisco these days. But in quiet moments I feel the power of gravity…heavy-hearted and melancholy. Being at the beach on this gorgeous November day added a little joy to my melancholy (and maybe that’s really what life is all about, anyway). I found myself skipping along the wet sand with my camera singing Wexford Carol and Biebl’s Ave Maria. I forgot my troubles for a few hours.

San Gregorio is a private beach half-way between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. It is vast and wide and stretches for miles. Its stark and unpopulated beauty are soothing to the soul and invigorating to the eye. Here are some of the shots of the day…

We were the last ones to leave the beach. I couldn’t remember the last time I had an entire beach to myself…miles of it! As the sun ducked under the fog bank, it powdered the beach’s cliffs with rouge which reflected back in the wet sand.

San Gregorio is one of my old haunts, a place I’ve been visiting for years. It is a church of sorts. I come here to find comfort in the stark beauty of open space where the land meets the roiling sea. Today it was a place where old friends met to share the past and contemplate future years, however few they may be.

* * *

Here’s a poem from my friend January Handl in California…

The Edge of Aging

I keep stumbling over
The edge of aging
This wrinkled hand
This creaking hinge
This blank spot
In the file cabinet
That held the treasures
And torments of a life
A story
That is still unfolding
With a few missing

But relentless ticking
And  the sounding chimes
Of  a heedless clock
A blur of seasons
A tremble in the muscles
A veil between causes

My vision softening
As experience sharpens
My silent wonder
My grief in growing
Toward less in body

And ever more in
Changeless                     soul




  1. Stunning images. Some of them look like paintings.

  2. The whole saga…told in images and words as only you can corrall. Love and thinking of you…

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