I actually didn’t even realize that it was Fleet Week until Thursday, when #BlueAngels failed to reach my social media feeds in time for the panic attacks my coworkers and I would suffer every 20 minutes or so. Working 40 floors up and in the midst of downtown San Francisco has its perks, but also its share of risks. No, there have been days where I scope around the clouds and down to the sprawl below for any signs of an earthquake or a plane that– knock on wood– just might crash into my office.
But oh, rooftops are a joy. Always they’ve just captured my heart and have never disappointed. Just feeling so isolated from the norm, being alone– it’s like gathering your imagination in a corner to really piece it apart; and up in the clouds there’s room for it to breathe. You couldn’t quite imagine the joy I felt in discovering that in getting away from the restraints of one rooftop at work, I found solace in another not even a block away.
Not far below but still high up, the rooftop terrace at the Crocker Galleria overlooks the intersections of Market and Montgomery Street. The benches are whimsically chopped into single seats and plastered against wild hedges flourishing in unison with lavender and other flowers I fail to name– pink ones. All is pretty and calming, and many fail to know of all its existence. San Francisco is stingy like that, about their rooftop gems. To enjoy them you have to know where they are first, but even recalling how you ever knew to begin with gets lost in your mind over time and with each revisit. These lonely roofs seem different from New York in that they don’t make a spectacle of their surroundings– they are the spectacles themselves. Imagination can run wild up here, even fly.
Even way back in college I wrote about their magnificence. It was one of my most praised pieces of poetry from that class in that I not only wrote so well of the benches and sparkling lights casting a glow on the gardens surrounded by the skyline, but finding that if there was something better out there for Peter Pan, these rooftop gardens would be the place. As I remember in my last lines, from the rough draft (for some reason these early lines strike a chord in me always),
And if they were to fall over that edge,
their deaths would not be in vain.
You can just envision these places as part of the flight to Neverland… after all, San Francisco is often observed today as the land of Lost Boys.
And so be it. With days like jets soaring by and breaking all sound barriers and nights spent atop rooftops or even just by attempting to climb back into apartment windows– and it didn’t seem like climbing; the witch’s hat and rum were all that assured us we were in fact flying– well we’ve all come to the right place.
And the Edens among the roofs wait for our takeoffs, there and patient to confirm this truth.