At least once a week, my husband David and I take our Sheltie Emma for a walk along the San Francisco Bay promenade at Crissey Field. We typically start at the Warming Hut—the wonderful bookstore/café run by the National Park Service—and then with the Golden Gate Bridge looming large in the background and hot chocolates in hand, we head East, along the Bay back towards the city until we reach the meadow where Emma likes to chase the soccer ball. (Yet another substitute for her missing flock of sheep)
On a recent visit, we were lucky enough to catch Bill Dan, a well known and beloved local artist doing his ‘thing’; balancing rocks, large stones on top of small stones in a way that seems to magically defy gravity. His work is both public and performance art—he never fails to draw a small crowd of astounded admirers mesmerized by his temporary and ephemeral vertical rock sculptures. He refers to his work as meditative and spiritual, often creating ten or more of these pieces a day. A self-taught artist, Dan holds to the philosophy that his craft is a combination of work and play dependant on concentration and a positive attitude as well as respect and understanding of his materials.
I find this practice an incredibly inspiring metaphor for life and the tasks of balancing what can feel at times the impossible. Concentration, being positive, respect and understanding of tools and materials, and allowing our work to also be play might just be the key to finding balance and magic in everyday life.