This was going to be Friday reflections, but internet connection problems pushed it out to today. Yesterday I dropped off my beloved e-bike in Berkeley, because after 3+ years and many hard miles of faithful service, it's showing its age. Whether it's repairable or I have to replace it, it's been a great investment for money, health and environment. With gas prices hitting record highs, we might be seeing more people riding them or regular bikes.
After dropping off the bike, a trip on the #72 bus downtown and a short walk took me to my next destination, but I was early, so I walked around for a while. I've written before how you can see more while biking somewhere than driving. Walking may not get you places as quickly, but you see even more and get a different vantage point of things. I took the opportunity to spend some quiet time in the Kaiser Center Roof Garden. Usually I'm there for an event like the Oakland Indie Awards and it's full of happy people, but on a weekday morning, it was quiet, with just a handful of people enjoying the lovely spot. I meditated and prayed for a while, letting the sound of the fountains wash away stray noises from elsewhere.
Then I explored a bit, since there are areas of the garden I haven't been in before. Speaking of seeing more, I don't think I'd ever noticed the plaque that marks the area as the "Former Site of the College of Holy Names 1868-1957". Or the map showing the location of various plants around the garden. Or the view of the cathedral towards the northeast.
I headed over to Hawker Fare for my lunch meeting, a debrief of the 5 Historical Houses Bike Ride that I helped lead recently. Good food, good beer, and good company. We discussed ways to make the ride better in the future and other Oakland-based rides we might do in the future.
After lunch, I walked over Grand Avenue, and after stopping for a call to check in on the e-bike, I meandered through Adams Point up to Oakland Avenue. After a brief wait, I hopped on a #11 bus, and was pleasantly surprised to run into @RebeccaForBART who was on her way home. After a nice chat with the driver (I was the last one off), I rode the bus as far as it would take me, almost but not quite to the edge of Montclair. From there I walked through the village, up the hill, and home. Part of the way was with a neighbor who clearly didn't walk up the hill very often, but walking once was a step in the right direction, so to speak.
I saw a lot of different aspects of Oakland during my day, good and bad. I try to focus on the good ones, but I can't ignore the bad ones. Violent crime, littering & graffiti, a police department almost in receivership, a city council that's lost its way. Sometimes the city seems irreparably broken. But then I remember other cities that have or are turning themselves around, and how much so many people love this city, that I can't help but have hope for the future of Oakland. Change is needed, and change will come. We need to keep pushing for change, but also be patient because lasting change usually takes a while.
Good words of advice: Keep Cool. Love Oakland. Today I'm off to enjoy this beautiful weekend, volunteer with Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, experience Oaktoberfest, and more.