Sunday, August 25, 2013


I've never had the deep kinship relationship with the ocean that some seem to have.  Living in New England, there seemed to be this sense of binding to the sea, this craving to be near it, some inner connection to where the ocean meets the land.  There is, even for me, something deeply spiritual about standing with the water just lapping my ankles, the rhythmic in and out of the waves, like the breathing of the shore.  It feels right to be there, to stare out at the expanse before me and know my own smallness.  My favorite memories of the ocean are at dawn or dusk, when all is still, all is quiet, like the earth should be at peace.  All is right.  The infinite sea, blue as far as my small eyes can go, is something bigger than me, something no one claims to control, always ebbing and flowing, always there.
Maybe that's the draw for those who have always lived by the sea.  It never does change.

I remember that I used to go back home to Colorado on breaks from college, and take my dad's car and drive out to nowhere, out on the plains, where it was quiet and I could listen to music and think and feel small in some open space.  It was often late afternoon, when the light slants out of the west, from the mountains, and everything turns sweet amber.  I felt like my soul could open up there, spread out, not bound by the brick and bustle of my other life.
Every so often, I'd rise over the crest of a hill and suddenly I could see forever--blue mountains with a dusting of snow, and clouds that rose to points just above them, a mirror range in the sky.  And the light would break through the clouds, just turning pink, and light up the whole valley before me, a sea of civilization that was really only a foreground and a preface to the story.  I could see the light reflect off the skyscrapers in the distant downtown, making them look so small.  Making us all look so small.
My heart still feels at home there.  My Colorado is a golden prairie-land.  In my daydreams I run through wheat-colored fields and the tops of the plants just brush my hands.

Now I've made the desert my home, and so I must learn to see God in what is around me here, different as it is.  It is palm trees and cacti, and sparky orange blooms; rocks and puffy storm clouds and so much land.  There are hummingbirds here and there, and little mourning doves that populate the apartment complex where we stay.  And the sky--mostly the sky--so blue by day and any choice of colors in the evening, a display of God's glory.  And maybe that's where I'll find him here, if not at my ankles or brushing my hands, then up and out, in the expanse, where I can wonder at him in so many new ways.

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