Photo by Mark Rabine.

Yes, it had that feeling of a time warp.

The salsa, the Aztec dancers, Alejandro Murguía’s poetry bouncing off the walls of La Mision, the vibrant colors of the new mural, like memories of the old mural, brilliant but how reliable?

“We’re not leaving,” says one of Murguía’s poems, a sentiment picked up by speakers and seconded by the crowd of a couple hundred.

I am still here. Although most everyone  I knew in the 80’s has either moved on, or has been moved out.

Not the Carnaval Mural.

Painted high over the intersection of South Van Ness and 24th Street, the Carnaval Mural is the most public of art. I watched as day after day it came into being, as decade after decade it faded, and this year, as it seemed to be magically transformed in weeks.  I felt it become part of the streetscape, then the community, and then, like an old friend, part of me.

I’m proud of the old mural. Today it’s a cultural heritage.

Yes, time warp it is. And we’re all still here; the people, the ghosts, and most of all the work. We’re not going anywhere. Why would we?

Like Murguía says, “it’s the Camino Real, baby.”

Mark Rabine

Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. "What a long strange trip it's been."

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