Friday, September 3, 2010

Lyon Street Steps

Behind Mary’s house there is a “street” that’s actually a staircase. Lyon Street starts down by the bay, crosses Pacific Heights, and goes way beyond the neighborhoods we know; but for a few blocks it’s too steep for cars and even too steep for a paved path. It’s really a little steep, even, for a staircase. That’s the beauty of it.

At any time during daylight hours, people are walking up and down these stairs for exercise. And then, since they’re working out anyway, they also bring along their yoga mats, elastic bands, free weights, exercise balls and whatever other accessories will enhance their workouts. People exercise here singly, in casual groups and even in organized groups.

At the middle of this long staircase, a civic group has built a beautiful formal garden, and those not exercising stop to enjoy it. Serious people don’t stop here of course, and may not even stop at the top or bottom. I saw one guy counting laps by moving acorns at the bottom of the stairway. Checking his acorns, I think he intended to do six laps before he took a break. That could be a lot of laps, depending on how fast he was going.

I was out on a bike ride with my cousin Harold and joked that I would ride my bike up the steps. Then I decided to try something almost realistic, so I promised to ride up the Baker Street sidewalk, one block over from the steps. Ha! When I got to the bottom of Baker Street, I realized that the sidewalk was too narrow for a slow bike ride so I decided to shift one block farther, where the sidewalk is a little wider. Um,… well, no. I barely made it up the first street on which cars are allowed. Those San Francisco hills are really steep.
At the middle of the staircase

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