A Spring Break

A rainy day in San Diego seems like a perfect time to think back and remember a really wonderful sunny day that the Beloved and I had a couple of Fridays ago.
You see, the Beloved had “spring break” the other week which is California Republic speak for we’re furloughing you state employees for five days.  Have a nice week.  And while we didn’t have any big plans, one thing that I wanted to do was to have a picnic in Balboa Park.

We had a gorgeous day and decided on a light but interesting course that would get us plenty of sunshine, a relaxing meal and even a bit of education.

We started off at the San Diego Zoo – apparently along with every other family in Southern California that decided to take a Friday off – because the Beloved had not seen the massive new exhibit, Elephant Odyssey.   The exhibit is a huge new area for the zoo’s elephants (much much larger and nicer than their last one) as well as a few other species and seeks to teach visitors about life in Southern California ~12,000 years ago by matching up a prehistoric species (e.g. a mastodon) with its most closely related modern relative (the elephant).  The exhibit is really well-done and well-worth a stroll through.

Speaking of strolling, or more particularly strollers, we braved a veritable armada of them to visit the polar bears and one of our favorite animals – the takin.  At least on the “skyfari” trip across the park, we didn’t have to battle for room.
After our couple of hours at the zoo, we were getting a little peckish and decided to locate a place to have our picnic.  We disappointed a number of schooling parking space seekers as we stopped by the car to get our cooler and then we hoofed it over to the Arboretum where we found some dappled shade and enjoyed a great picnic of sandwiches, fruit and a few crunchy chips.  It was really great to lay back and watch people (more families with strollers) and enjoy the day.

Finally, we put replaced our blanket and cooler in the car (disappointing more hopeful parkers) and decided to visit the Mingei Museum, which I had never been to before.  The Mingei is an interesting museum because it is dedicated not to fine arts, but to finding beauty in commonplace folk-art and everyday things.   One exhibit was about the art of an woman named Sonabai who lived in a remote village in the Indian interior and was forbidden to leave her (windowless) house or have any visitors by her husband for ~15 years.  
So – what do you do with 15 years of solitary house-arrest?  Personally, I think I’d go bonkers, but Sonabai made the best of it and began to create frescoes and bas-reliefs to brighten up her house.  She remembered little birds and animals from her youth and brought them to life in her home.  Later, the husband relented and began to let people visit and they were amazed at the beautiful creations Sonabai had made.  In time, she became famous and even started a “movement” among artists that sought to emulate her.  Remarkable.

I know our lives seem very hectic and non-stop crazy these days, but I can certainly say a nice easy-paced sunny day filled with interesting tidbits and animals and art is good for the soul.

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13 thoughts on “A Spring Break

  1. What a great day! When I was in SD a couple of years ago they were doing work on the elephant exhibit, I laughed so hard when I saw workers taking a break behind a new fence… I lounged for an hour outside the arboretum too, there was a guy out front playing music… awesome, love SD.

  2. It's so cool that you have these neat things nearby, and so much gorgeous weather to enjoy them in! I loved your bit about disappointing the parking-spot-seekers – it cracks me up every time I see it! Oh, look, a spot! Wait for it, wait for it…..are they getting in or just getting their stuff?…..Darn. Keep looking.
    I will say this though: the only thing worse than battling strollers on foot is battling them with another stroller! Some of those moms are relentless.

  3. Can you believe I've never been to the Mingei? I really should fix that. But I'm a frequent contributor to the stroller brigade at the zoo. We try not to be too aggressive with our stroller- it is a stroller, not a battering ram…. And Mello is right. Watch closely and you'll see rounds of "stroller derby" being played.

  4. Steve, I've been remiss at Voxing and commenting lately – life's been crazy. ButI remembered this post of yours – thanks for keeping me in mind and sharing it specifically! I hadn't heard of Sonabai myself and after reading this had to google her story. Pretty stunning stuff, huh? Life finds a way! Unfortunately, Sonabai's story of virtual house arrest – as far as life in rural India goes – may not be one of a kind. Just glad that there are always those people who fight against the tide and assert their individuality.

  5. So much to do in Balboa Park, a true Must California visit. Glad to hear somebody else appreciated Mingei. I can see this post dates back in 2010. I would love to see Mingei again two years from now.

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