While the pic of Coit Tower from where I saw My Flying Dutchman last night isn’t exactly the view from my side of the City, the top of the tower still looked like a sailing ship. From my neighborhood, Bernal Heights, the top of the tower looks EXACTLY like a sailing ship.
All of this is about that good luck charm I made up for myself once upon a time: when the fog comes in this time of year it’s thick and it climbs up over the hills there (the tower is atop Twin Peaks) and fingers of fog work their way down the streets on this side: a Fog Monster.
Anyway, I noticed a long time ago that it was always a good day if when I happened to look over at the tower, if the fog rose up just enough to cover the tower just so, just up to under the horizontal pieces, it looked like a big metal sailing ship, making its way across the cloud layer over San Francisco, which of course brought to mind the tale of the Flying Dutchman.
So I used to call those my Flying Dutchman Days. They were always good days.
The last one time I saw the Dutchman was in August 2007 and one a year before that, but this one was the one I’d been waiting for, it seemed, for at least five years.
Five years seems to be the interval of suffering for me. It was three and a half years ago that I had my Vespa accident, for which I am still suffering—the ribs still hurt and my gait is still….off. But of course the worst of all that remains the multiple daily headaches. The years pre-accident? Well, that just pulls in a whole host of things in a boxed wrapped up in a giftbox by someone who’d deny being a victimizer in the same breath as accusing me of enjoying wallowing in victimhood.
Aside from these last approximately annual visits of the Dutchman the ship was up there often. It’s just that it’s the smaller, taken-in-stride occurrences—of anything—are the ones that seem to carry more profundity.
The one rule in this made-up good luck charm of mine is that it must present itself to me. If I must grab a deck chair and invigilate the afternoon away waiting for the fog to rise and flow to “just right”, then the charm doesn’t work: it’s a thing that mustn’t be forced, it must be Given.
And last night an appearance was finally Given. I saw Her as I was driving over to Mike and Rich’s house for dinner & a movie. I had to pull the car over for a few minute. Not to stop and look, for you know the rule on that already, but to collect myself. Tears in my eyes and all of that. It was joy and gratitude.
There’s a purity to gratitude when cast in the intransitive. This, and respect for the truth may be the bases for all forms for spirituality.
Oh, and did I mention that this self-made tradition is based on a myth that itself is a portent of Doom?
Well, I do what I want, and meaning only exists in what we make of it: MY Flying Dutchman is a bringer of good things.
Why? Because it’s hard to believe that any ship sailing over San Francisco could consider itself doomed in any way.
To others, it’s just fog. To me, it’s the Heavens dipping down to live as San Franciscans, even for just a little while.