This week I traveled to San Diego for work. I think I have been in San Diego 10 or so times in my life, and for some reason I feel drawn to the city. The first time I was there I was 8 years old and my parents took my brother and me to the San Diego Zoo. I don't remember that trip at all, other than vague images of me wearing my Mickey Mouse Ears I'd just gotten at Disneyland and of it raining in San Diego. I also spent a week in San Diego as a teenager, where a church group I was with stayed at a college campus and I did my best to ignore the prosthelytizing while enjoying the socializing and the ocean. On that trip my distinct memory is of swimming in the ocean and being helped to shore by a lifeguard because I had been caught in a rip current. Most of my trips there have been for work though. I assume conference planners are drawn to San Diego because of the predictable weather - generally not too hot, not too cold, and pretty much predictably gorgeous all year round.
When I've found myself in San Diego for work I have always found a way to make it to the ocean or the bay - whether that be a morning run along the bay from one of the bayfront hotels, a run along the beach, or at a minimum eating at a restaurant with a good view of the ocean. This week I had a chance to walk on the beach 3 different times, twice for morning runs, and once at night after dinner at a beachfront restaurant. The beaches I saw this week were mostly uninhabited, which is my favorite sight to see. I can certainly appreciate a good crowded beach, but the peace from a deserted beach is something that touches my soul. The waves crashing to the sand, the vastness of the ocean, and just little old me standing on the shore taking it all in...there is something magical in that. I think when I have a moment like that I am closest to god. I can feel the way we are all connected when I look out at the never-ending ocean. The beauty, the sounds, the experience, it all comes together to remind me that we are all in this together. I am but one tiny speck in the universe, but we are all part of the same life force. Instead of making me feel small and insignificant the ocean makes me feel powerful and free. I get to be part of the same life force that created all of this beauty, and that means I have the same beauty within me.
|Torrey Pines State Beach - San Diego, CA|
I would love to live closer to the ocean, to be able to see that beauty whenever I want to. There is certainly beauty in my home town, but sometimes it is harder to connect with it when it is covered with snow. Although even snow, and the cold hard months of winter remind me of the power there is in the universe. When I run past the frozen pond that sits at the entrance to our subdivision I always think about the turtles and frogs who lie buried at the bottom - almost completely frozen and in a state of nearly dead - who will come alive again in the spring. In a way the contrast of the easy living ocean, and the nearly dead turtles at the bottom of the pond are a reminder that sometimes life is smooth and easy and at other times you have to work hard to get what you need. Without one I don't think you can adequately appreciate the other.