Trying to capture just a few moments of a delightful playdate earlier this week - on Sunday, to be exact. We are on vacation in northern CA, living in a rented home, a LARGE home, with enough room for 15 of the 16 of us to spread out, cook together, swim together, take day trips together (and separately, too) and generally unwind from a wonderful but demanding summer of family highlights (the big birthday party in June and, of course, the lovely wedding, which I described in words and pictures here, here, and here.) So...on Monday, we drove over to a nearby state park and took a short (2 mile) hike together. A few reflections on that experience posted tonight with Laura at The Wellspring and LL at SeedlingsinStone:
The coastline before us swoops in a large semi-circle, forming a 45 mile stretch of the Pacific into the placid and peaceful Monterey Bay. As the sun sets each summer day, the fog rolls in like a blanket unfurled, covering water, sand, hills, towns. And this bay is dotted with towns. Charming small ones, known for warehouses full of brilliant tuberous begonias, for the tantalizing aroma of clam chowder and crabcakes, and for the eclectic mix of folks who choose to live here.
The fog lingers deep into the morning on many days, tempting late sleepers to stay tucked in tight, creating a deep desire for the warmth of beverages served in ceramic mugs and large quantities of cooked breakfast foods.
For people used to a demanding schedule, this mellow life is more than welcome, it is life-giving. Just a few days before one batch of grandkids begins school and about three weeks before the rest of them step into the fall, we are glad and grateful to have this time, this place, this space to breathe.
A lovely by-product of the dense fog is the even denser layer of green growth which sprouts everywhere you look. Coast redwoods, several varieties of oak, sycamore, pine and the wonderfully evocative Monterey cypress cover the hillsides all along this northernmost edge of the bay. The central stretch offers sandy soil for artichokes, and thousands of their feathery leaves blow in the breezes caused by the traffic on Highway One. Down near Monterey, on the southern edge of the bay, the cypress are everywhere, but the redwoods disappear until you hit Big Sur, about 25 miles south of Carmel.
So, staying in the lap of redwood country up here on the northern edge, we opted to take a hike on Sunday in lieu of going to church. Good choice. The sun burned through by noon and we packed some fruit and snacks and headed out to see what we could see of God's creation.
A soft, spongy ground cover is created by the accretion of thousands of pieces of redwood greenery, turning a rusty reddish brown as it settles into the earth. This makes for very easy walking along trails. Even the five-year-olds enjoyed the cool shade of the giant trees, the sound of a nearby stream and the chance to move their bodies in the middle of a beautiful forest.
Lilly loved it all, especially the snacks. And despite the interesting array of facial expressions displayed in the photo above, the rest of the crew relished this time away from the usual, too.
The sky was blue, the sun was shining, the stream was sparkling, the trees were sheltering - it was a very good day. After spending every Sunday of the last 50+ years in a church setting for worship, this was a lovely way to enjoy Sabbath rest. We are grateful for all of it - the beauty of creation, the circling company of family, the gift of re-creating ourselves on a family vacation.