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Baker Beach Stairs III
What is it about stairs that draws my interest? Is it simply the visual element of a repeating pattern or a series of diagonal lines building a path across a visual field. They are all that but that alone doesn’t explain my fascination.
It started with the curiosity of the World War II coastal defense bunkers and pill boxes located on San Francisco’s Baker Beach but as I walked around, on this cold and foggy fall afternoon, I was drawn into the spirit of the place, sensing it’s historic duty and that of the soldiers stationed there.
Slowly working the photographs, the steps tapped out the rhythm of the souls of soldiers shoes climbing in pride to the higher duty of protecting the home front. Which at this post, was literally at their backs. But also the sheer boredom of looking out at an ocean each and every day. One that could show you the amazing Pacific in all it’s blinding brilliance in the fall and spring, it’s body and mind numbing summer fog and winter storms which whipped sand and rain through the openings.
I have heard my friends who served in the military speak about the boredom of “the watch” and can only guess the myriad ways they devised to keep alert to the smallest of changes that might indicate threat. The mental games, conversations, and kibitzing that went on to keep alert and pass the time.
All this said, it’s the ephemera of the human spirit dealing with each day remaining here that fascinates me the most.
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