Friday, January 20, 2012

Grace Walk

Picturing San Francisco

At Christmas time I hiked up through Nob Hill and over to Cathedral Hill with my boyfriend and my mom, who was visiting from Portland, and we walked the Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral.

The Labyrinth is a fairly new feature at the church, but Grace Cathedral was built as a mission in 1857. That version of the church was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Then, in 1907, the Crocker Baron, William Henry Crocker, donated his land, the 2.6 acres which comprises “Cathedral Hill,” to the Episcopal diocese. 

Walking the Labyrinth on an exceptionally warm day outside in the church garden – a very meditative experience.
My mom was married in the small chapel at Grace, and she always likes to walk within the Cathedral’s Gothic domes whenever she visits us in San Francisco. The church and all of its beauty resonates with her original sense of place, and I feel the same way!

When we arrived for our labyrinthine walk, a wedding had just taken place. The Mark Hopkins Hotel looms center-right and the B of A, middle background. The Crocker Mansion is the low brownstone to the left, and The Fairmont Hotel stands across the street, behind.
The cathedral had just emptied after its quotidian Saturday wedding ceremony, so we went inside and had our own itinerant mass.

British and American flags representing the Episcopal connection with the Church of England.

There are many beautiful stained glass windows , painted murals and mosaics by De Rosen telling various stories from the bible.

I like to think that I captured an angel-of-light here floating amongst the saints depicted in the stained glass windows!

In the southern aisle of the church filled with light from the colorful, stained glass windows embuing a hushed yet grand milieu inside the Cathedral walls.

These are the famous Ghiberti Doors at the Taylor Street entrance of the church and affectionately called, “The Gates of Paradise.” Each panel depicts a story from the bible. Works of art from Florence, they are copies of the doors of the Florence Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

One of the panel details in the Ghiberti Doors depicting a story from the bible.

On To Chinatown

Chinatown was our next destination. We walked down California Street about five blocks to Grant Street, which is the best entrance into this unique realm of the city.


This is one of my favorite angles from Grant Street nestled amongst the vibrant activity of Chinatown with a view of the Transamerica Pyramid.

B of A is everywhere – even Chinatown!

My mom wanted to find a set of Chinese stress balls to cure a bout of carpal tunnel. We found what she was looking for in a huge, very festive, gift shop called Canton Bazaar.

A Lion Dancer from a previous Chinese New Year parade graces the window of the Bazaar. I adore Lion Dancers! To me they are the true spirit of the parade!

Interestingly, the Chinese New Year parade once made its route down festive Grant Street. This was when the parade consisted primarily of one very long, paper dragon and a cadre of brightly dressed children waving sparklers. Now the parade is much more elaborate and centers around Macy’s at Union Square. The parade usually takes place about two weeks after the official date of the Chinese New Year, which this year is January 23rd. So the parade
will be on Saturday, February 11, 2012 – year of the dragon!

My mom did find a pair of Chinese stress-balls for her carpal tunnel. I would have chosen the red dragons, but these elephants are very nice, too. They make a pleasant chiming sound when you roll them in the palm of your hand.
Hence, we had a wonderful and successful outing, followed by a beautiful Christmas ~ and the New Year is getting off to a pretty good start, considering!

No comments:

Post a Comment