Marielle Lyons '17: Love Letter to San Rafael

During the months of being sheltered-in-place, Marielle Lyons '17 has been going through her old high school assignments. She found this love letter she wrote to San Rafael when she was a senior at Marin Academy.

During the months of being sheltered-in-place, I’ve been going through my old high school assignments. I found this love letter I wrote to San Rafael when I was a senior at Marin Academy.

Dear San Rafael,

For 17 years, 343 days and 16 hours, I have loved you.

I love you for being so nurturing. Some may accuse you of creating this bubble in which you shield us from the outside world. However, I know you’re just trying to be protective and that you have our best interests at heart –– I appreciate that about you.

I admire that you still hold on to remnants of your past. You showcase, in the middle of downtown, the overwhelmingly pink Mission San Rafael Arcángel from the 1800s. One street down, the Rafael Film Center so brightly lights up our evenings with its neon blue and orange lights. You’ve evolved, and stores and shops have come and gone, but the recognition that you give to your past self encourages me to hold on to my own memories in photos, videos, writing and art.

I love the sense of community you’ve created. When I was much younger, my parents would bring me and my brother to the quaint farmers market downtown for the annual Italian Street Painting Festival. Picking up a piece of chalk, I found myself coating the square in bright colors until the concrete of your road was no longer visible. By hosting these exciting festivals, you allow for us, as a small community, to grow closer.

Mmm, the food you offer tastes so good! When I’m out with friends, the first place we think of is that food that is “to die for.” Green- and red-lidded bottles scatter the tables; wooden chopsticks that are not yet broken apart, rest on top of navy blue napkins; the ding after ding of a bell announces that rolls are ready to be eaten. I’m always feeling perfectly satisfied after eating a meal made with organic rice and fresh fish.

I love you for the diversity of your land. From the swampy lakes and windy roads of China Camp, to the scenic hiking trails of Lucas Valley, to the rhythmic waves, crashing on the shore of McNears Beach, I am proud to say that I have seen most of you.

I love you for everything you’ve given me. You’ve given me the lookout point on Sun Valley Hill that displays a breathtaking view. This is where you really show just how naturally beautiful you are. The view toward the south is my favorite; small boats line the waterline around Peacock Gap, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge sits peacefully between two entirely different worlds, and the city of San Francisco lies behind the valleys and glimmers in the sunshine.

My life revolves around you. I find myself in your little bubble, and I am comforted, knowing that you have supported me from Day 1 and will continue to do so as I grow older. However, what I think is most important is that when I am around you, I can just be.

For 17 years, 343 days and 16 hours, I have loved you … and I’ll never stop loving you.