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Roof Garden Lunch at the Cathedral, Oakland


Lunch in the Cathedral Garden, ink & watercolor
Lunch in the Cathedral Garden, ink & watercolor


Every now and then I manage to get out of the office at lunch time long enough to eat and even sketch for a few minutes. Across the street from our office building is a huge modern cathedral that looks more like a concrete prison with an upside down glass ship on the roof.

Their roof garden follows the concrete theme, with a sort of maze of square concrete planters with benches that force you to sit straight upright on them. But there are trees, shrubbery, and perfectly maintained grass (a delightful treat to pull off sandals and enjoy on bare feet).

I keep wondering why I never see any birds in the roof garden even though it is across the street from Lake Merritt which is a bird refuge, full of pigeons, waterfowl, pelicans, egrets and more. And it is kitty-corner from Snow Park favored by huge flocks of Canadian geese and pigeons (and always covered in big slimy goose turds). Do the guards chase the birds away? Are pigeons Catholic?

Update: I wrote to the Cathedral’s contact person and she explained why there are no birds: “With regard to the birds, I think the main reason for the lack thereof is the cleanliness of the facility. Birds will congregate wherever there is food. Our janitorial staff is always sweeping and keeping the grounds neat and clean.” It’s true, the place is very clean.

4 replies on “Roof Garden Lunch at the Cathedral, Oakland”

Yep. And it’s easy enough to ignore when it’s sunny and warm and there are breezes and grass underfoot as opposed to carpet, windows that don’t open and a pile of paperwork and emails awaiting. jana


Ha! Actually we’re a pretty happy bunch out there even if we have to sit up straight and mind our manners because we’re outdoors instead of indoors where the windows don’t open, pushing papers (or pixels..or both!) I wrote to the Cathedral and they said there are no birds because they keep it so clean there’s no snacks to attract them. It is very clean there. Jana


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