April 14, 2016

World: Finding Waterfalls

Last week I wrote about the waterfall that was a constant, accessible source of nature during medical school, at times of stress and calm alike.  In the Bay Area it's easy to feel lucky for the falls at Yosemite and Point Reyes. And when these are too far for a weekly dose of zen, San Francisco is filled with green and water--including some waterfalls in Golden Gate Park.  But I think that there are pockets to find everywhere, and that any place can become a natural reminder of how much wider our boundaries are than we imagine.

For example, did you know that there are waterfalls in New York City's Central Park?  There are at least five, and one spring a friend and I mapped them out and looked for them.

Central Park, New York City. May 2010
Central Park has always seemed like a miracle of green in the middle of urban concrete and skyscrapers, but there's something especially surprising about a cascade of water in the middle of a city. And I think this element of the unexpected in the outdoors really contributes to refreshing and resettling yourself when you've been working inside.

Living on the eastern side of San Francisco means I'm farther from the green of Golden Gate and the water of the Pacific.  I don't live near the woods, which were minutes from every city in Connecticut. But there are knolls and gardens in nondescript areas, blocks away from home. They aren't tourist attractions and even locals don't frequent them very much. These secret coves remind me that when it comes to finding nature, the place doesn't have to be big or overpowering; it just has to be present. 


  1. Speaking of hidden miracles of green, did you ever do the Mount Sutro Forest hikes when you were at UCSF? It's the forest in my backyard, NBD ;)

    1. No! I was rarely at Parnassus. Would love to come visit your backyard :)


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