Sunday, May 6, 2012

Proof of the existence of God: Beauty is Free

We were on our way back from a little rendezvous with a McDonalds playland in Southern Salinas, when we hit some back-up traffic trying to pull into the truck stop where Willie (the bus) was sleeping.  Chatter from the backseat clued me into the fact that the kids still had a few more ounces of energy to burn and it wasn’t quite 7pm.  So the seed of a thought started blooming in my gray matter.
“Hey, Babe, you want to drive out to Route 1?”
Shawn looked at me, weighing the options in his mind, while a semi ahead of us blew his throaty horn at a stalling colleague.
“Why not?  I’ll run over to the bus and get the camera,” he said.
I almost, ALMOST, said, “Don’t worry about the camera.  Let’s just go before the sun sets.”
But, oh, I’m so glad I didn’t.
I’ve had the opportunity to sample some delicious morsels of scenery on this trip of our ours.  More than once, I’ve whispered, awestruck, “I could definitely live here” in the cool shadows of rocky cliffs or the freeing expanse of brown prairies.  But I didn’t leave my heart- really bury it in the earth and walk away- till we watched the sunset south of the Carmel Highlands on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Now that’s a place I could live.
As we neared the coast and began seeing signs for Monterey and Carmel, Shawn put out the obvious challenge: “Let’s see who can spot the ocean first.”
The kids love this stuff.  Their lazy posture bolted upright and they began scanning the horizon like little owls.  But Dad won this time.  “Look guys!” He pointed to our right where just through the thin bodies of tall trees, the ocean waved at us.
“Oh, wow!”
“I see it!”
And see it, we did.

We pulled over at a small alcove and everyone got out to check out the scenery.  Talk about a house with a view...

Of course, I was fully immersed in the gigantically gorgeous surroundings, missing the intricately beautiful touches of nature posed at our kneecaps.  Abra pointed this one out to me and insisted that I take a picture.

The sun kept sliding down the sky, so we got back in the van so we could find the perfect perch from which to watch its final descent.

And perfection presented itself in the form of a modest yet substantial hill jutting ever so slightly out into the ocean's rim.  So we parked up, once again, and I gathered an unravelled sleeping bag in my arms as Shawn and the kids began the jolly march to the top of our lookout.

Let me just say that the scent emitted by the potpourri of plant life on the hill made this experience even more sublime.  Shawn and I spent the better part of our 40 minute drive back to the bus trying to describe the indescribable smell.  "Piney", "Sweet", "Spicy", "A cup of chai" all attempted to give language to the aroma, but none was adequate.  But here were the different instruments in that orchestra of delight.  I wish I knew something about plants, but I know less than nothing.  I can only offer their headshots.

And this one:

And lastly, this little beauty:

Once we reached the top of the hill, the chattering chins and purple lips began: the kiddos were cold.  Here are our ladies snuggling in the sleeping bag:

Of course, as soon as we found a spot, the boys found a better one, further up, complete with a sturdy little bench for our comfort.  So we dug deep and pushed further on.  And what a view from the top.

This was on our left:

This was on our right:

This was behind us:

But this was the main event:

I don't know that I will ever have the money to actually live in Carmel, CA.  But funny enough, in that ritzy little town, I was reminded of the goodness of God.
He made beauty free.
And there is a richness in that.
Oh, and this "Super" man lit the way home.  What a guy.


  1. What beautiful pics. I was blessed to truck team with my hubbie for 20 yrs, and loved "running the coast". We saw so much of God's beautiful creation that I'd never have gotten to see otherwise. A good life indeed. So happy for your family that you could do this with them. Angels all around you as you travel.

    1. It sounds like you have had your fair share of beautiful scenery on the road. Thank you so much for the well wishes.

  2. Hey Maile,
    Just had a few minutes and sat down to "catch" up with your blog. Wow. You have such a way with words and I find myself wanting to read more. I can't wait to read the book you and shawn will write about your adventures. I feel like you have so much to offer women and I know i am one of them who has recieved from your perspective and journey. i especially liked the entry on growing hope and on your experiences with counseling. thanks for sharing so freely and vulnerably.
    blessings, Heather :)

    1. Heather, you are always so kind and encouraging in your comments and I greatly appreciate that. And the fact that you have four children and one on the way and still take the time to comment means so much to me. Thank you.

  3. Maile - this is so beautiful - both words and pictures. And I am so glad you got to take that drive - it is one of the best in the entire world. There are a couple of CA wildflower websites that might help you identify the plants you saw. I think the blue one is ceanothus and the yellow one I can't find - try this page and compare with what you saw:

    Your daughters are lovely - so glad they can enjoy this adventure with all of you.

    1. Thanks for the link, Diana. I will try to do some investigating. And as always, thanks for reading and your encouragement.

  4. Ah-Carmel Highlands-love that spot. Charlie and I used to drive down there and also to Big Sur (one of my favorite places on earth) from Santa Cruz for cheap dates-just gas $ and a packed deli lunch! So many beautiful settings there. I am so excited you got to see some of it! I am a NorCal girl at heart-so I am a real sucker for these photos!

    1. I've thought of you so often on this leg of the trip, Maria, and can completely understand why this area has stolen your heart. We are absolutely loving our time here; definitely one of our favorite places on the trip so far.