To The Mission (A love note)

To The Mission (A love note)

Every morning when I wake up, I step outside my front door and look East to watch the sleepy sunrise peek over Potrero Hill. I lock my front door as the light illuminates the quiet streets and the hungry sun eats up the morning clouds. With my new Nike’s on and a full day ahead of me, I get rolling.

There is an ecosystem here. One that has evolved with this neighborhood through it’s identity crises over the last 10 years. The Mission has become a melting pot of the neighborhood’s bohemian Latin roots and the new wave’s desire for all things forward thinking and perfect.

When I pass 24th St. on my bike, I remember the first day I came to the mission by myself. I exited the BART station to find a low-rider parade passing by. The roaring engines nearly silenced the sermon of a pious man standing on the corner preaching the gospels in Spanish.

I remember dancing on this street joyously during Carnaval alongside women wearing the most beautiful dresses. I remember  my friend from out of town paying $20.00 for a bagel with eggs & salmon. “That’s the city for ya!” I said.

As I ride through the crisp morning air, the warm sunshine gently engrosses the old victorian buildings as everyone else begins waking up.

I notice the lines for both craft coffee shops and panaderias start forming just before 7:00 AM. The fresh and cozy smells from each one of them tempt me on my way to the park.

By the time I step out of my favorite coffee shop the air is warming up to that “perfect climate” I’ve become so accustomed to, and my skin breathes a sigh of relief. Most locals say that San Francisco’s summer happens in December. The Mission’s summer runs for about eleven months each year. The typical day involves blue skies and comfortably warm temperatures.

At 1:00 PM on Saturday, I can smell the taquerias firing up their sizzling grills and serving some of the best Mexican food in the world. At 1:00 AM, I watch as Valencia St. is flooded with beautiful young people as the hip bars are serving drinks.

While this neighborhood has changed over the years, one thing is a constant; there always seems to be music. Whether someone selling fresh fruit on the street is blasting reggaeton from a boombox, or a Lo-fi DJ is playing at El Techo, (one of SF’s ohh too few rooftop bars), or a Jazz trio sets up on a sidewalk while a mariachi band finishes serenading passerby’s on Valencia St., one can seemingly always find beautiful music emanating from just around the way.

I keep pedaling on my way to meet some friends.

My new shoes touch the concrete street for the first time as I stop at a red light. I look to my left and admire the beauty of an old Victorian mansion that sits on the top of a hill. The gorgeous woodwork, the rounded glass windows, the fabulously manicured lawn are all so impressive that I can’t stop looking until the car behind me honks at me and I begin pedaling again. 

In a few brief minutes I find myself at Delores park. I locate my friends and lay my bike down on the gentle green grass. One of my friends tells me about their new apartment and all of it’s modern amenities. As we sit on the hill enjoying the view, my friends look at the glorious skyline of San Francisco’s skyscrapers. My eyes are fixed on Mission Delores, San Francisco’s oldest building, and I’m thinking about how much I love it here…

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