57. view from the icon.
this was the half-way point of an 8-mile Sunday walk -- my first time visiting (vs. driving over) the city's most beloved icon which belongs, i realize, not only to the city but to this entire portion of the East Bay. i have grown so accustomed to seeing the bridge as the city's most imageable symbol, glimpsed on a clear day from wurster's 9th floor, i never fully realized how much the Bay Area is iconicized when the gaze is inverted. here, the ridges of Berkeley become the backdrop for SF's ivory + emerald hills, all miniaturized in relation to the breadth of the landscape and the seemingly infinite volume of deep-green sea. although the view is totalizing, the self is obliterated from this vantage point, distracted by competing stimuli. the water below becomes indescribably mis-scaled, appearing much closer and much more harmless in the absence of proximate human-sized objects. what has always been a flawless demarcation of the Bay's protected interior before the Pacific's frothy no-man's-land uncannily became a precipice, whose immediacy of affect rendered the urban toyland into a simulacra. from this vantage, the banal feels banal, and the extraordinary, seductive.