When I was a child in school ,field trips were one of the highlights of my life. I remember trips to the science center, the planetarium, and the zoo. To Ballet, the symphony, and the theatre. To Charleston and once in middle school, to New Orleans. As an adult, I’ve had the incredible blessing of traveling and living in some pretty interesting places. God has placed in me the heart of wanderer, a love for the open road, and a passion to discover whatever there is to be found in a place. Over the past couple of years I have reinstated my own sort of field trips. On days off from work I try to find a new place to explore. I go to museums, interesting neighborhoods, markets, city centers, and rural villages. Sometimes I make out a plan or sometimes I just get in the car (or on my bike or the train) and go. Sometimes I start with one plan and then do something entirely different.
A few weeks ago, was one such field trip. I drove down the coast to Monterey to visit the aquarium. I spent hours wandering through this beautiful underwater world, pressing my nose against the glass as the fish swam by, petting starfish , sea cucumbers, and rock crabs in the touch pool, and thanking God for all the cool creatures that he made. Afterwards I walked down to the beach and took my shoes off and let the cold pacific ocean wash over my feet and the sand squish between my toes. I sat on the rocks and watched the waves and prayed to God that I would never lose this childlike wonder at his creation.
As I walked back to my car, trying to decide if I was going to drive back home, it occurred to me that I was only another hour from Big Sur State Park. It was just after 3pm which would put me there in time to watch the sunset. I drove the 50 or so miles along the winding, oceanside cliffs to arrive at an almost deserted park. I spent the next hour writing in my journal and chatting with God about how beautiful and awesome this place was. And then he gave me one of the most beautiful sunsets I’d ever seen. It crept up on me. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be very vibrant, but slowly the sky changed to brilliant, almost violent shades of orange and red. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face as I watched the sun sink into the ocean, the waves crashing below me, and not human voice to be heard above it.