It was called Trolley Dance 2009 … the Sixth Annual San Francisco Trolley Dance. I’d never heard of it before, a news commentator talked about it on an NPR local news piece a few days before. Meet up at Dolores Park in San Francisco, buy a day pass on the J Church line trolley. Ride the trolley to Balboa Park, stopping along the way to watch modern dance pieces performed on the street. 

Sounded interesting to me. Sounded like a photo opportunity.


This portrait of a woman I made at Balboa Park keeps drawing me back over and over again. The dance exhibition as we arrived began at the street and carried us into the park proper, into a ring of trees. She’d been sleeping there until the music and the movements of people wakened her, and then she stood and watched, enchanted like the rest of us. Her face drew me in: such a radiant smile, such beautiful eyes. A true royalty of the street, a Queen in a different world and time. 

I wished I’d had the chance to talk with her; her eyes told me there was much to hear. But I was distracted as the dance moved away and drew me along to the next piece. Instead I have this photo to ponder: colors and smile, replete in mystery and shining beauty. A solid presence in the trees of Balboa Park.

It will have to be enough.