Sunday, October 30, 2011


It's easy to overlook what's right in front of you, whether it's love, choices, happiness, or something beautiful. As a kid I loved "The Wizard of Oz," which showed up on television once a year. I think I had the whole thing memorized, but every time I saw the last bit, the bit where Dorothy tells the farmhands that she went looking for something that was right there all along, it was as fresh as the first time I glued myself to the television to watch it.

As a jaded adult with lots of $%&# on my mind and the misguided sense that "if only" something would happen, or someone would change their mind, or some of my wrinkles would miraculously smooth out overnight, or whatever, "if only," then my life would be perfect.

But it is perfect. What's really fun is to realize, as Dorothy did, so much is right there for the taking, and all you have to do is take the time to reach out and grab it.

I'm sure the merchant who posted this sign in his window wasn't thinking philosophically, but more practically. Yet it struck me as a good reminder. Much of what makes me happy is so local that I don't have to leave my own mind to find it.

One recent working Tuesday I went for a brief lunchtime walk, taking the elevator down from my office on the 30th floor and heading out toward the San Francisco Embarcadero. Tuesdays are the perfect day for walking by the Ferry Building -- it's Farmers' Market day, and there are always treats for tasting and buying. My particular favorite is the almond brittle sold by one of the nut farmers. So delicious.

Better than the brittle, though, were the views from the pier nearby -- I believe it's Pier 14, which extends out toward the Bay Bridge. Here's a picture -- I don't have any idea who that woman in the picture is, but I hope she was enjoying the beautiful sight as much as I was.

There was Oakland across the bay to the right, and Treasure Island straight ahead.  When I got to the end of the pier and looked back toward the city, I could see why several tourists were snapping pictures of themselves with the same view. Local. How lucky am I.

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