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If you venture into the off-leash area atop the hills of Cesar Chavez Park in the Berkeley Marina, you’ll come upon a place of remembrance along with a worshipful look north, south, east and west. The solar calendar built on this site pays homage to Cesar Chavez, his legacy commemorated and explained in the accompanying plaques.

Berkeley Solar Calendar
Berkeley Solar Calendar – Panasonic FZ28

But it’s also a spot that asks us to ruminate as we look forward — toward the next equinox, toward the cycles of the sun and the planets. And then as we look backward, contemplating the spaces that once beckoned to the original inhabitants of the Bay Area, the Ohlone peoples.

Homage to Cesar Chavez in Berkeley
Homage to Cesar Chavez in Berkeley – Panasonic FZ28

This installation is a temporary work of public art, waiting for an infusion of cash to sustain it permanently. The four directions are marked with rocks bearing attributes associated with the seasons (winter and “tolerance,” for instance). These rocks also bear the names of virtues the artists connect with Cesar Chavez and his works.

The Four Directions: Determination
The Four Directions: Determination – Panasonic FZ28

Standing upon this little peak, if you allow yourself to strip the landscape of its modern, human constructs, it’s impossible not to feel some connection to what once was, to what this land must have been like before the Europeans swarmed through. I often think of that as I walk through our wilderness areas, grateful for what remains, but mourning what must have been.

The Four Directions: Hope
The Four Directions: Hope – Panasonic FZ28