My mind was on the notion of joining. The idea, but not the word of it, was with me as I left the ferry terminal, aimed toward Market Street. I am one of a few people in this band who cross Embaracdero Street and veer right, across Justin Herman plaza, to Clay Street.
The light on Clay is a perpetual grey twilight. In part from a fogged sun lobbing sodden light onto the solemn, sensible aggregate of Embarcadero Four. In part from this morning's sleepers across the street, pulling up corrugated bedding and polymer bindles for the day's shamble and rummage. The words that come to mind:
paper crab hide
I used those words once to fix the aching leaves in my mind, as well as those withering on the lanai. All of them were cold-pressed that day, and quivered by a C-150 rawling overhead. Today it comes to mind as I am watching these old coats, their thin hoods dimpled by thumb-pulls, shields tearing at the neck. A few pained fox lives, sifting into the hedges.
A minor prize of tai chi, as with many Eastern forms, is learning how to carry only that which is yours. I am carrying the Yang-style player from the plaza, a Chinese dressed in common idioms of Fog City living: tights, baseball cap, turtleneck, windbreaker, scuffed runners.
I think he is mistaken with his position on the plaza dais. I did not see him rooting. His back was canted. His wide stance suggested more drama than purpose. By the time I allow that his passion is not on display for its perfections, but for its being, I am at Battery street, where I drop him off.
Crossing Battery, I am looking through the windshields of cars that dare needle into the crosswalk. The grey is lifting, and a breeze winds through my hair. As I turn the corner onto Sansome, I sink into each leg deliberately. I join with the will of the earth, and I might well stop a bus, just to keep people loose, and at a distance.