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pahavit
Date: 7-30-2006 2:58 PM
Subject: Today's Field Trip: In Search Of Wind Harps
Security: Public
Tags:bat ray, candlestick pt, field trip, harbor seal, south san francisco, tank hill, wind harp
Today's Field Trip: In Search Of Wind Harps


Today D. and I went out in search of winds harps. Wind harps are also known as aeolian harps. They are played by the movement of wind across their strings, wires or, sometimes, girders.

The first one we visited was in the middle of an industrial park (dominated by Genentec) at Point San Bruno in South San Francisco. It was made by Lucia and Aristides Demetrios. Situated on a knoll 243 feet above sea level, it's 94 impressive and graceful feet high and can supposedly be seen from the Bay Bridge, the East Bay and San Francisco International Airport. There was a circular path around it, with a few benches and a lovely garden full of flowers that drew hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies and bees. On a Sunday, we had the place all to ourselves.

But there was no wind to speak of! The giant wind harp was silent, alas. The site has some problems with noise pollution anyway: intermittent jet plane noise from nearby SF International Airport, the distant roar of the freeway (US 101) and the incessant loud white noise of rooftop air conditioning compressors and cooling fans on all the warehouses and office complexes all around right below the hilltop.

But the place was a beautiful and peaceful spot just to relax and take in the astounding views of the East Bay hills, the South Bay, bits of downtown SF itself, the hills of the Peninsula and San Bruno Mountain, so it was well worth the trip in spite of the silent structure.

Next we tried to find the wind harps which were supposedly at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. What we didn't know (and what the park's own website doesn't say) is that the wind harp sculpture indeed used to be there, but ironically got damaged in a windstorm several years ago. There were a bunch of liability issues about putting it back up, so the park and the sculptor mutually decided to go their separate ways. The nearby hill is still called Wind Harp Hill, but it's empty except for grasses and weeds and a lone pole sticking out of the dusty ground.

So we strolled around anyway to see what Candlestick Point was all about. It's right next to the stadium once called Candlestick Park (now Monster Park), where the Giants used to play baseball and the 49ers still play football. The Giants now play at AT&T (or whatever corporation is subsidizing the city these days) Park downtown.

We saw a bunch of red tailed hawks soaring high above, beautiful brown pelicans swooping over the bay, zillions of dragonflies, many ground squirrels, and two totally cool special sightings. One was a harbor seal, which bobbed in the Bay a mere 20 feet from the path, staring at us with great interest. The other was a bat ray! It was flapping its fins swimming in a small circle just under the water's surface. They are such totally cool creatures; they're like the hipsters of the sea. That more than made up for not seeing a wind harp at the park.

Then we came back to the City to visit Tank Hill, which is close to my place. The City used to have a reservoir in a tank on that hilltop; the tank was relocated many years ago, but the name remains. It offers more stunning views; you can see the entire city and bayscape from Point Reyes to Hunter's Point, plus the panorama of the East Bay Hills.

And it was incredibly windy on top of Tank Hill! We had to take cover behind a rock outcropping to avoid being blown right over. That's where these sculptors should be putting their wind harps, on Tank Hill!! It would have been perfect!

Oh well. That's how the cookie crumbles. It was still a nice day in the sunshine.

Mmmm, cookie . . . *goes in search of carob brownie*


And we got to see a bat ray!! How cool is that?


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