My dear friend Jennyb was in town, and she invited me to go with her to Fort Funston on a Wednesday morning in August. The evening before a shooting took place outside of my apartment about 200 feet down Hampshire Street. The man shot was a father who was out walking his dog. It occurred at 11pm, and it could have been any one of us.
Outside on that Tuesday night the neighbors gathered. People were consoling one another, speaking to police and trying to make sense of what had just occurred. Hampshire, blocked off by "Do Not Cross" tape, was a crime scene of flashiing reds and blues. Officers with their flashlights in hand carefully scanned the street for gun shell casings and other evidence. And Luke, a cashier at the convenience store, the one who's alarm rang in response to the shots, was consoling, organizing and caring for the community. Amongst the tragedy, compassion and camaraderie were found.
The police detectives came to our door at 5am and asked if we knew any details. We only heard the four shots, and couldn't offer much help. They thanked us and left. My husband and I tried to go back to sleep, but shots kept ringing through my ears and the red and blue kept flashing the backs of my eyelids. I got up, and so did my husband. It was 6am.
I had plans to grab some coffee with Jennyb later that morning. I was going to call it off because all I really wanted was to sleep. Four hours really isn't enough rest for me, which makes me grumpy and tense. Add to that the events of the night and grumpiness and tenseness can turn into despair. I knew it was on the edges of my psyche. It is a familiar friend.
As we played tag via text, I decided it was best to keep my plans. Jennyb lives in Portland, and it is a treat when she visits. She also enticed me with the beach. I couldn't resist letting the ocean air and Jennyb's sunny disposition renew my sense of hope. It seemed the right response to an evening of chaos and death.
We picked up her friend Izak as we drove from the Mission to Fort Funston. The trip in the car was filled with smoke and laughter and brightness. And as we arrived at Fort Funston, my nervous edges were blown away by the cool ocean breeze. It was perfect.
As we made our way down to the beach, I couldn't resist snapping photos. I felt grateful that amongst everything I was still able to find beauty. The photos, the friendship of Jennyb and Izak and Fort Funston renewed me. For that I am eternally grateful.