Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost’s well-known poem hauntingly describes the beauty of curiosity and choice.

Curiosity is part of human life, inherent in our nature. It helps us overcome fear of the unknown, stops us from narrow-minded judging. Curiosity inevitably leads to exploration and discovery.

Humans have explored their environment since the beginning of time, first their immediate surroundings, then across the seas, now to worlds far outside our own.

I’m an explorer with an insatiable curiosity. I can’t leave the next corner or bend unexplored. My favorite areas Downtown are off the beaten track, especially the enigmatic warehouses.

Warehouses are full of human busyness and soul, reminding me of the unobtrusive action that goes on behind the scenes of everyday life. In the evening, after the day’s frenzy, they become peaceful thinking spots. It’s a perfect time to be curious, exploring physical and mental nooks and crannies.

Downtown is full of old buildings with incredible possibilities. Why tear them down without realizing their full potential? Sometimes all it takes is a new roof, some lively flowers, and they are beautiful again.

What constitutes beauty? It’s somehow intangible, beyond scientific measurement and logical thought, uniquely understood by different people.

Beauty is often associated with visual aesthetics. Color is an intrinsic part of our visual understanding of beauty; without it, the world would be drab and dull. Texture is also important, blending the old with the new to move away from lifeless uniformity.

Does familiarity help us find something beautiful, or do we notice beauty when it’s unusual? Can a building be considered ugly at first, and then beautiful years later? Or does something become ugly to us when we’ve seen it too much?

I wonder…Is beauty like an old friend, something we’ve established a relationship with, or is it like love at first sight, striking us the moment we behold it?

Downtowners who walk to the Farmer’s Market see nature’s beautiful bounty Katherine Matousek brings to Horton Square every Thursday.

While exploring gallery options for Wok-Crawl-Swing, Linda Mullen discovered the Wonder Bread Factory, one of my favorite buildings. Bob Sinclair (multi-East Village property owner) gave her a tour of this remarkable building’s restoration.

Parvin Cohen (Horizons) sees beauty in 5th Avenue’s historical buildings and Horton Park’s fountain, a local landmark and meeting place for over one hundred years.

Cora Donez (Village Walk) finds beauty in the painted mural on the side of her office, San Diego National Bank, as she strolls to work.

For me, whitewashed suburbs without any character or difference lack richness of life. Our unique community is rich in variety.

If you can’t find beauty in being open to various creative possibilities, finding inner peace and positive aspects in our imperfect world, what’s the point of life? Quintessential beauty to me is constantine barbed wire with bougainvilleas growing in its midst. - March 20, 2003

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