There are clearly few, who are so talented as Connie WalkerShaw.
Today I pick up the dress she made for me from special fabric that had been given to me when I was 35. I remember because it was given to me by an older woman artist who shares my birthDAY and lives in a synagogue. She gave me the fabric when she was 70. She was twice my age. The fabric has gold threads in it. It is like a color shifting fairy tale fabric that changes from lavender to gold, hinting at rose.
I am late picking up the dress, so her lesson is already underway. I try on the dress which is magical and am ready to go. As I leave, I ask the student seamstress if she knows that Connie also is in a band and that she can play two saxophones at once? The little girl says a shy “no”. I smile, shrug, raise my eyebrows and say “well, she can” and leave.
After WalkerShaw I drive to the beach.. Ocean Beach in San Francisco is like heaven. It is so empty and so nothing. I can see as far as I can see in three directions. My cells take in the empty vastness with relief. This hasn’t changed. I think then, have I changed? Each time I stand at Ocean Beach I remember other times I’ve stood before her. Before the ocean and cried out with my soul for all that I hope for. She solicits requests like that. The ocean is vastness itself. Before her, troubles shrink and expire, being obviously temporary. She emanates eternal presence, over and over, her waves sounding like a large echo of my internal self; of something that helps me let go and know.
It’s the same, and different. It always is.
Two solitary men pass me going one way; then an older couple passes the other way. That’s it. The beach’s nature to human ratio is nourishing, safe and separated from the highway by blocks and blocks of gorgeous graffiti, painted on the ocean side, I assume late at night.
There are birds. That familiar seagull silhouette is everywhere; taking off and landing. I notice a particularly nice one but sense something odd about it. It’s the wrong size. I realize it’s outdoor art of some kind as it is not a real bird and even far away it reads clearly and I like the design so I walk towards it. It takes longer than I expect. Getting closer I see it’s a sign. Not a regular government sign but still it seems official. It says something like “strawberry ice plant sanctuary ends here”, yet there’s nothing but sand for miles.