I miss my hometown, the one I never left. I suppose San Diego always, at least during my lifetime, had the problems and ugliness of a larger city, but it had its charming parts, some of which still exist.

I'm commenting from one of those vertical glass warehouses where we flesh-robots are interfaced with glowing rectangles and an alphabet-button rectangle for eight hours a day—well, eight hours for those of us lucky enough to perform our non-productive "work" for so short a span—most of us spending that time mediating between people and portions of that hideous mother of flesh-robots you might call "Jabba the state."

From here I used to be able to look out in the distance to see something a little less drab: The California Bell Tower, one of several buildings built in Spanish Colonial style in the early 1900s, rising up among the trees of Balboa Park. That particular tower is part of the building that houses an anthropology museum that I enjoyed visiting in my childhood; it was then called the "Museum of Man," back in the time before "man" was considered an offensive word. My wife just shook her head and muttered something about "estúpideces" in her native language when they changed its name to the "Museum of Us" to be more "inclusive" to... extraterrestrials, I guess.

I can no longer see that building, nor most of Balboa Park, since another vertical glass warehouse was built—one in which flesh-robots will "live," if you can call it living.

Soon Seaport Village, another of my favorite places, will be demolished to make way for ugliness, just like the area around the Imperial Beach Pier near my house was rebuilt in hideous fashion in my youth, when the county government took charge over the area to make it more "tourist-friendly." Some time ago I was lamenting the impending loss of Seaport Village to a Canadian friend. I sent him some photos, and explained that I don't know why I found it charming, since the small buildings were hardly beautiful or impressive. He said—and I'm paraphrasing poorly—that it was because "they are normal," a normal that we don't have anymore, a place that looks like it's for humans rather than flesh-robots.

I could give many other examples, such as the library, which was already in a drab enough building, being moved into a giant metal eggshell, but I've already gotten carried away, and my comment is turning into a dissertation.

I don't even need to mention rising crime, or the homelessness crisis with the accompanying drugs and filth, including human excrement on the streets, which is now extending far beyond downtown into neighborhoods where you once might have found normal families. Even if we forego mention of some of the really ugly occurrences, the ongoing loss of the handful of places and things fit for humans is a great sorrow for this person whose native home this place is.

Well, I lament the disappearance of my home around me, but it simply makes all the more precious that hope "for a home that does not fall away, a place that cannot fade." Thus, I can appreciate this week's hymn of the week and its accompanying article. I suppose it's time to re-read "Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World."

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Feb 28Liked by Debra Esolen

Jerusalem-- Antiquity to Eternity

Sanctuary of the Passion of Christ

No holier city.

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Feb 28·edited Feb 28Liked by Debra Esolen

Upon reading the penultimate stanza,

"There Magdalen hath left her moan,

And cheerfully doth sing

With blessed saints, whose harmony

In every street doth ring."

I couldn't help but recall Rogier van der Weyden's "The Descent from the Cross" (c. 1435) and Mary Magdalene forever moaning. She is on the right contorted in her sorrow. 'Tis a wonder to bring that image of Mary to resolution.

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Our eldest daughter leaves for Jerusalem from California in a few hours. Thank you.

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Feb 28Liked by Debra Esolen

Dear Father Spitzer says that we all long for perfect love, truth, beauty, goodness and HOME.

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