A Lesson from Karl

Drenched in an eerie thick blanket of fog, with sprinkled mist all along the Bay, San Francisco was solemn, grey and with an almost somber feeling of dismay. Even though it was a Thursday, Clement street was empty, desolate and littered with a tinge of darkness. This is the San Francisco I’ve grown to know, the San Fransisco that most don’t tell you about. My girlfriend, sister and I decided to take a little evening jog. I knew the Lands End Trail would be empty on the account of the weather. With all this, my gloomy disposition had nothing to do with sadness. I’ve grown to love the fog. It’s when the limited greenery of the city is empty and mine for the taking.

Upon arrival at the Sutro Baths, the Pacific was nowhere to be found. Karl overshadowed her grandeur and what was left was the chaotic roar of the ocean. Without the sight of its waves, it still moved as if it had a heartbeat. For a brief moment in time and space, my eyes gave way to my ears and the Ocean’s chorus synced with my breath playing a turbulent, majestic and almost symphonic melody. With each inhale, I took in life and with every exhale I gave it all back.

As we walked through the corridors of the trail, we were greeted by an outline of tunneled bushes. Below, there were roses with infrequent patterns of yellow, rose, green and plum colored flowers.

The dense fog made it impossible to see anything else except within a few yards radius. Without my consent, I was enjoying nature. I could barely see what was in the back of me much less what lay beyond.

It was a lesson in presence. Now I’ll admit, in this city..in the epitome of tarot cards, hot yoga, and pseudo passive aggressive mindfulness – the term presence has become a cliche. Now that I think of it, to say cliche is a cliche, but I’ll continue despite my grain of pessimism and tell you what Karl taught me.

He taught me that the past and future are nothing but a thick and dense blanket of fog.  That the past and future are non-existent. They are stories we tell ourselves, masqueraded in memory. I firmly believe that when we can sit with ourselves at this moment, we can discover the unique fragrance of joy and peace. What we need more of in this world, is the ability to look at NOW as what it is..timeless, eternal, attentive, fresh, new and full of what many refer to as Love.

Anand

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