Saturday night I took a short walk with friends, crawling out from the bustle of Chinatown, across Columbus Ave and through the Financial District, emerging onto the Embarcadero into the midst of ongoing setup for the impending Superbowl, metal barriers and racks of lights on trailers piled and waiting for their starring role in next weekend’s festivities.
On our way we stopped through Sue Bierman Park. Unbeknownst to me, this unassuming park across the street from the Ferry Building is the evening home to the famed “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”. In daylight, the parrots are wildly visible, bright green with a cherry-red head. It was dusk, and we could only make out the occasional fleeting silhouette of a parrot coming or going, but their squeaks and squawks rained down on us in force.
Standing atop the knoll I could make out a great orb of light through the trees, beyond the shore, and moments later snapped to the realization that it was the moon I was seeing. It was *massive *on the horizon, rising up behind the distant Oakland foothills and bending its light around the Bay Bridge. We started toward it, drawn as if desert wanderers toward a nebulous oasis. The Embarcadero was tame as compared to its usual overflowing sidewalks teeming with meandering tourists. We stood oceanside, at the railing on the northern side of the Ferry Building, admiring the vast satellite, its luminosity throwing a long ray of light across the water stretching from the ports of Oakland to the ocean just below our feet. The moon rose with astounding speed, and by the time we turned our backs it had visibly diminished, en route to its zenith.
Moments like this, despite their brevity, are crucial to my happiness in a city. It is the experience of a magician’s rabbit, crawling to the precipice of the hat it calls home, reminding itself that there is a whole abundance of world beyond.