Saturday, October 30, 2010


It was very early on a damp Saturday morning when I carried the laundry down these somewhat spooky stairs at Spencer Alley in San Francisco.

Outside, I passed the steeple of the German Lutheran Church (scaffolded all around) and remembered what it looked like in the sunshine a couple of days ago when the scaffolding first went up.

But on Saturday morning the sun had become altogether a stranger. I had heard rain falling during the night. The air was still heavy with drizzle and the streets were empty.

Someone was trying to sleep on the wet pavement under the shrine of the Mater Dolorosa built into the adobe wall of Mission Dolores graveyard.

Inside the niche near the feet of the statue a few candles burned. The offering ledge held white gladioli. And there was a banana on the base of the plinth for the homeless person.

When I went back later to get my clothes out of the driers, other people were beginning to venture outdoors.

The blue blanket and its owner had disappeared, but the banana remained behind.