Beauty Amidst the Ruins
Good things appear in unexpected places.
On a recent Sunday, too tired to drive the hour to the waterfall site I was hoping to take the family, I spotted on a map a patch of trails that had escaped my notice until now.
We’ve covered many trails in the Marin Headlands, but a little clump of historic military batteries, complete with parking lot and upscale “outhouse,” had been sitting right there under our noses. We’d driven past the parking lot entrance a hundred times, never realizing there was a parking area camouflaged around a turn.
Old military batteries around the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are not aesthetically pleasing as structures in and of themselves. Crumbling concrete, rusty metal, and years’ worth of graffiti are hallmarks of the many historic battery sites dotted around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Yet they appear in breathtaking nature settings. As we walked, we saw small remnants of military infrastructure dotting the trails on the way to the main buildings. I stopped for a shot of neon pink ice plant flowers with the rolling hills of the Marin Headlands in the background. These lovely flowers had woven their way into a concrete block and chain structure, which themselves had melded into the natural surroundings.
Even an old rusty chain—installed as part of a military industrial past—has a particular beauty.
Our lives have moments that transcend rusty, jagged edges, too. The realization that a child’s development is way off track may be countered by joy seeing the innocent spirit of a person living with profound challenges. The devastating loss of a loved one might remind us of our powerful capacity to love others.
May we all take a moment to notice the hidden flowers in the ruins as we plod our way along. The flowering weed struggling its way through a crack in a city sidewalk can be as uplifting as any other blossom. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s Hike Notes, Batteries Loop Trail-Marin Headlands, lead readers on a short, easy walk around three of the historic batteries of the Marin Headlands, with gorgeous views in all directions, including distant views of the Farallon Islands and Point Reyes, and close up views of colorful wildflowers.
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New this week:
Hike Notes 130: Batteries Loop Trail-Marin Headlands
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