The Golden Gate Bridge’s daily strip tease from enveloping stoles of mist to full frontal glory is still the most provocative show in town.
–Mary Moore Mason
I’m going to answer Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s prompts in three posts today. We were participating in a curling tournament Friday night and all day yesterday, so I didn’t have a chance to write my responses.
Friday’s prompt was an easy one for me:
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)
On our vacation to the west coast this summer, David and I rented bicycles in San Francisco and rode through the city, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and down into Sausalito. The moment I felt most alive this year was during the ride across the bridge.
It started out sunny and clear, around 4 in the afternoon. We made our way through the city from the bike rental place, through Ghiradelli Square and several parks, and came to a place where we had to decide whether to ride up a huge hill or carry our bikes up a long, sloping staircase to continue our journey. David chose to ride, I chose to carry. We met at the top of the hill, then coasted our way a bit, before climbing the switchbacked path to the bridge.
Once we got to the top, David gave me a kiss and sent me on ahead of him. I pedaled out onto the bikeway on the western side of the bridge. To my left was nothing but water and cliffs, huge rocks with white foam around their bottoms. To the right were at least 6 lanes of traffic, then the city off to the east. The wind was killer up there, but I had the sun on my face, and I was a happy girl. I looked across at the water, and I can remember so clearly the way the sun shined its pathway towards us, glinting and rippling. I remember thinking, This is unbelievable, I’m riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. I said to myself, Remember this.
At each of the two towers, the path turned left, then straight, then right, then straight again. When I turned left each time, the wind nearly bowled me over. It took all my energy to keep pedaling into it and to stay upright. Others were biking in the opposite direction, commuters, I suppose. I thought how lucky they were to get to do that everyday, knowing even as I thought it that they probably took it for granted.
Once we reached the other side, we carried our bikes down to the pedestrian walkway underneath the bridge so we could get to the visitor’s center on the other side. When we go there, we looked back to where we had come from, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that, at that exact moment, the legendary San Francisco fog began to roll in. In under 10 minutes, you could no longer see the city.
It was, literally, a picture-perfect moment, and the one where I felt most alive in 2010.