Sometimes you stumble on the most beautiful things by straying away from the beaten path. On Sunday as we were trying to find parking along the street close to de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, we heard a lot of honking. Drivers trying to cut into parking spots from behind while people were trying to reverse into them — it was happening everywhere. Impatience reigned. So did frustration.
After half an hour of being stuck in a jam, going to the parking garage only to find it was full, and driving around the perimeter of the museum, we took a right turn. Found a spot a quarter of a mile up a hill … it was raining, we were late by 45 minutes for our showing of the King Tut exhibit, and there was a 20-minute walk ahead of us … not the ideal situation. I was cribbing as I walked — wondering why we didn’t take a cab to the park instead.
And then we spotted this lake.
Quiet, serene, peaceful.
Just like that, the day lit up for me. The rain stopped being a nuisance. The fact that we had to walk almost a mile and then plead to the museum staff to let us in stopped bothering me. The lake was a discovery we wouldn’t have made if we had found parking closer to the museum, or if we’d taken a cab.
We stopped by the lakeside again on our walk back to the car. It was the highlight of the day (sorry, King Tut). It was an oasis of calm in the middle of chaos.
It offered respite from the throngs of people everywhere. The mad rush. The sense of urgency to “get someplace.”
Reminded me that sometimes you encounter the most interesting things when not following the “plan.” Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and see what happens. Sometimes off-track is a lot better than on-track.
If you’re always following the most logical, expedient, efficient road to your intended destination, you might be missing out on some hidden treasures.