Trips always look longer on a calendar versus on the ground. Yesterday was our last day in Palo Alto/San Francisco.
This might be unknown to most, but the official word of Palo Alto and the Bay Area is “chill.” It’s used for everything from parties to places to people. If we were having “chill” be the keyword for a drinking game, I would’ve been slurping the last droplets of vino out of the French oak barrels in Sonoma.
My suspicion is that the cool evenings are the root cause for everything being described as “chill.” Yesterday morning I was eating some homemade granola (not pictured) with residents of the Synergy house at Stanford. I’d asked 2 guys for essentials to see in my remaining time. A junior named Matt suggested we see the view from his favorite lookout spot. He said it was really chill.
The drive up to the park was remarkable. My only regret was that I couldn’t ogle the changing view as we ascended higher and higher. I’d never driven on mountain roads or extremely winding roads. There were a few moments of unadulterated bliss. I may have giggled, which probably didn’t serve to put the passengers at ease about my driving prowess. The two-lane road wiggled around the mountain, narrowing more and more with the altitude. I did my best Jack Lemon impersonation from “The Odd Couple.” This again scared the passengers who aren’t familiar with films produced before 1992.
We emerged from the lush trees and saw the sunset on our right and the city on our left. I pulled off the wider road and we all got out of the Jeep to take in the breathtaking site.
We forged on to race the setting sun. There are several trails but we didn’t have much time to explore. I parked the car, Michelle took off her sandals, and we sprinted up the dirt path. Once over the crest we saw the unrivaled majesty of the sun setting into the clouds, which looked like frozen waves. It was if time was still. The cool breeze was light and my entire sight line was breathtakingly serene and perfect. Lush trees, rust-colored brush, the bluest of skies and the shifting gradient as it all mixed together at the horizon.
This was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. And that includes countless burritos.
Once we got back to the commune we had to return our rental and take the Bart to Caltrain trains to get back to campus. The night ended slowly rocking in a hammock.
After seeing this marvelous, indescribable sight I began to understand the merit of “chill.” Maybe the locals have it right.
San Francisco was a reminder to chill out and let go. Maybe someone put something in the granola, but everything works out. There’s no point in obsessing over control and being efficient. There is no right way or wrong way.
All will be well.