Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
— excerpt from Leisure by W. H. Davies


I vowed to live life differently this year. So far, so good; not great, just good.

Since I’m a person driven by a burning passion and the sense there’s never enough time, I tend to live in fast-forward. This puts me just slightly out of step with those around me.

This year, I’m desperately trying to occasionally hit the pause button, just for a moment, to stand and stare. Enrolling in a Photography class at San Diego City College is forcing me to do just this.

The snap of the shutter encapsulates an instant in time. Even though the picture is flat, tasteless, silent, and unscented, it can still evoke the imagination beyond what the eyes see.

Because of this, I walk slower and actually look into people’s faces as I pass. This looking deeper is giving me an enhanced sense of connection, reminding me what drew me to live Downtown so many years ago.

A recent assignment led me to our emerging East Village neighborhood, where every turn holds the promise of beauty, and excitement. Laughter from children chasing each other at The Park fills my ears. People mingle on street corners softly discussing the day’s events with neighbors while furry companions wait patiently. Air rushes past me as large trucks rumble by, their machinery resonating down the streets. More dwelling units arise to house our populous. Each image is full of intense colors and lush textures; there’s a depth to the light.

When was the last time you observed with creative eyes? Or, gone further to examine with your senses? Have you perhaps explored the idea of community and all its possibilities? Realized that problems have more than one solution? And, there are different ways to accomplish the same task?

I reflect…When you stand and stare, why use your eyes?

These Downtowners have chosen to start exploring more of their senses, and are enjoying balancing the logical and the creative sides of the brain.

Becky Wissbaum (City Walk) never allowed herself enough time to explore the right side of her brain. Life was about work, raising children, and giving time to charities. Now she’s finding a balance in her life, and enrolled in her first drawing class. Her husband, Sherm Harmer feels Becky’s drawings are “very good.”

When Leah Matthew (Columbia Place) was in school, no music or art was offered; consequently, she sees the world from a structured business point of view. By adding art into her life recently, Leah is enjoying expressing herself creatively outside of work.

Every Sunday, Robin Gray (Smart Corner) taps into her creative side. She whips up savory dishes without a cookbook. Her son and his friends look forward to each unique new creation.

I leave you with the concluding line from Leisure:
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
-March 2008

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