Too often we focus on the surface of things, what can be seen, rather than what is underneath. One of my all time favorite places on earth is the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve tried voicing why I feel so drawn to it, so empowered and grounded by the bridge, but it’s a difficult thing to do. I’ve seen it thousands of times. I grew up in the San Francisco bay area and as a child, we would go over the bridge at least once a month, always stopping at the Sausalito Vista Point to look at the view and to admire the bridge itself. As an adult, I lived north of the bridge for some years and took every opportunity to cross the bridge, even if I didn’t have to.
On one of the trips across the bridge, my youngest daughter was with me. We were on our way from Santa Rosa where we lived at the time to the Stanford University Book Store where we were getting her a new laptop as I was able to get a significant alumni discount on Mac products. When we got near the bridge, she mentioned that she needed to go to the bathroom and wasn’t sure she could wait until we got over the bridge and to an area where we could find a restroom so I told her we could stop before going over the bridge and we could take the walkway under the bridge that would take us to the Sausalito Vista Point. We had never done that but I knew there was a walkway there and had seen people entering and exiting so we pulled over and did just that. She went up ahead as I took my time to take some pictures. When I entered the darkened area under the bridge, which is kind of a tunnel walkway for pedestrians and bicyclists to get from the northbound to the southbound lanes of the bridge I suddenly realized that I was seeing this part of the bridge for the first time. I looked around and was fascinated by the view below where I could see the foundation of the bridge and the underbelly. And then there was the noise of traffic and I could even see the traffic going above me as vehicles crossed gaps in the roadway. I was mesmerized by this view of the bridge that relatively few people ever get to see…to experience. Since then, it is another favorite part of the Golden Gate Bridge experience for me and I try to visit the underbelly of the bridge any time I’m there.