On a sunny Saturday after endless rain showers, I headed down to Glen Canyon to hike along one of the two remaining free-flowing streams in San Francisco: Islais Creek. In certain spots, where the 300-foot canyon walls hide the City, and the rushing stream blankets the traffic noise, you get a ‘time machine’ sense of the pre-1850 landscape, the same ones the 1770s Spanish expeditions saw, and had existed hundreds of years before that.
At this point we may as well just quote Shakespeare and be done with it:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
A green meadow, a bank of flowers, and a swiftly flowing stream. All in the middle of an urban area of seven million people.