As far as I am concerned, Tony Bennett got it right.
His iconic song ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco") celebrated his love for San Francisco. For more than thirty years, Julie and I called the Bay Area home. While the City by the Bay was never perfect, it was awfully good.
Finishing this wonderful jigsaw puzzle today, I'm feeling some pretty strong waves of nostalgia.
The puzzle was billed as a "4D" puzzle.
The first layer (barely visible here) was the city as it looked in 1852.
Then the second level superimposed a modern layout on top of that first layer. (What was most fascinating about that second step was seeing how much of the city was built on landfill; substantial areas of the city are actually built on what was once water. Which, of course, makes earthquakes in San Francisco a special kind of adventure!)
The third step for the puzzle was adding all the buildings.
What added a "fourth dimension" to the puzzle was the addition of the buildings in the order they were built. As Julie and I placed the buildings on the puzzle, we could see the city of San Francisco growing as it happened through history.
The first building (according to the puzzle) was the Pacific Stock Exchange. It was built in 1842. The Ferry Building was added in 1898. The Bay Bridge was opened in 1936, followed one year later by the Golden Gate Bridge. The Transamerica Pyramid was built in 1972. AT&T Park (in the lower left corner of the picture) was added in 2000. Even the China Town Gate is there on Grant Street, leading into Chinatown. (It was built in 1970.)
As Julie and I put the pieces in place, we remembered so many places we had been. We remembered meals we had enjoyed, places we had shopped, special moments with our children, streets we had walked. Working puzzles is not usually an emotional experience for me, but this one just about did me in. I found myself calling to mind memories and feelings that had not come to mind for a long time.
So many parts of life are important.
Obviously, relationships matter. Events and experiences shape us. Significant seasons in life stand out and make their mark.
But place is also important.
When I think of God's blessings, I often think of the magical places that I have lived, visited, and enjoyed. And near the top of that list is San Francisco.
I didn't leave my whole heart there, of course. But a part of my heart will be there forever.