Quality discretionary time: Priceless and sometimes free.

The gym sound system was playing old oldies again tonight.  Is it so important that every generation know Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit (if that is what the song is titled).  It reminded me that I’ve led a sheltered life, and that I’ve never really understood the command:  feed your head.   But maybe I do. 

I spent a little time recently in what has become one of my favorite San Francisco Beautiful places:  the  Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park.  The Gardens are extraordinary, if you haven’t been.  Just take the N to 9th Street, walk with everyone else to the park, and it is just to the left as you enter.  The Gardens are luscious and lovely.  The plants, shrubs, and trees are well-marked, too, with answers to “whoa, what’s that!”  Check out the closet of a gift shop that offers more things you absolutely cannot live without than a the Williams Sonoma flagship store.  Bring a book and a snack, because there are a bunch of benches.  It’s a reprieve unlike any other section of the Park.  Maybe escapes like the Gardens are a place to feed your head. 

Most people seem to be elsewhere in the Golden Gate Park, which is in no danger of changing.  There is a plan to charge out-of-towners $7.00 to enter.  Imagine.  Wouldn’t that give you pause?  $7.00 to see a section of a park?  With no amusement rides or Pixar-inspired characters dotting the landscape?  What if you are there with the family or friends?  Hmmm.  After the fee goes into effect (it’s in the approval process now),  even more people will be elsewhere.  Better for us City-dwellers.  A loss for the tourists and one more thing to reinforce to the East Bay crowd that there really is no reason to cross the bridge.  Even $4.50 sounds more reasonable than $7.00.  But I suppose if it costs $7.00 to ride the elevator to the top of Coit Tower (also in the works; up from the current not-horrible-but-hardly-worth-it $5.00), by comparison, the Gardens should have at least the same price-point.  If something priceless can have a price-point.  

But I digress.  Maybe the Gardens are a place to feed your head.  I always feel clearer, brighter for the experience. 

Here are two more opportunities for quality discretionary time (and free!).  Guaranteed to build the brain.  That’s the same as feeding your head, no?  

The De Young museum free Friday nights…also in Golden Gate Park… 5:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m…always interesting…free…usually a world music band and the associated mad dancing…open galleries…a crowd happy to be there…people you want to chat up. 

The newly fully renovated Oakland Museum of California…close to the Lake MerrittBart station…dedicated to the state’s history, art, and natural environment…interactive and multidisciplinary…no one wants to be in Oakland (which is a shame, since it’s a vibrant town) so what are the chances of a mob…current featured exhibit – Creative Reuse…free the first Sunday of every month…with a website address that oozes confidence:  www.museumca.org

Take it all in and be nourished.  LLII.

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