There’s a woman in San Francisco who’s famous for the magical way she shares walks with people. She’s become somewhat legendary, owing to her book, “Stairway Walks in San Francisco.” Stairways, many of which were built long ago into hillsides too steep to accommodate streets, turn a stroll through this hilly town into a discovery. Adah Bakalinsky has gone up and down each of the city’s staircases many times,
Adah’s grandmother took her for walks, showing her how to experience the world pace by pace. Now Adah herself is a great-grandmother, and takes the tots in her family on city strolls. It gives me pause to consider a woman who embodies seven generations of foot soldiers.
To me, Adah is the queen of the quiet meander, someone who knows how to notice. She smiles when she describes how each walk is different, because you never know where it’s going to take you. “I try to find serendipity at least once a day.” she says.
I’ve always wanted to talk a walk with Adah, there’s so much to learn from her. Last night, I went to a reading of hers, and afterward told her about D-Street and asked her if she would walk with me. She said yes! “In two weeks, come over for lunch, and afterward we’ll go have an adventure.”
I can only hope I’m as lively when I’m 85.
Here’s a little ditty about her from the travel section of the Washington Post: