It is often a modest thing – a small triangle of slate blue between shoulders of sand or scrubby earth; or in my case yesterday, a glimpse between Knob Hill houses. But wherever and however, I have always felt a lung-swelling lift at the first sighting of the sea.
Growing up, it would come after a 20-mile car ride—or, a couple of times, a 20-mile bike ride. And then, it being the Oregon coast, where walls of fog often settle in right at the water-line, one might have to get almost close enough to touch the ocean before seeing it. (It happens here, too, doesn’t it?)
In Galilee, that first sighting was blurred by haze—a combination of desert sand and Vernal heat, I was told. But I was seeing the sea after days of walking through brittle brown farmland and scrubby forests. It was, like any other first look, the fulfillment of a promise, the first hint of a long-held hope.
Yesterday, I walked to the beach from our house. About 3 miles to get there, a bit of walking while there, and then back by a little different route. I’ve driven it several times, but there’s something about walking along a way long driven – one sees things at the speed of foot that are missed from a car. The tree full of bright green parrots near Sepulveda and PV Blvd. The several hundred yards of church properties along Knob Hill, but especially the church yard sale sign hidden around the corner. (Do they want anyone to come? It’s next weekend.)
As in the long walks of Galilee, I stuck a note pad in my back pocket. Sure, I wrote down the dates for the church yard sale, noted the tree of parrots. But also scribbled completely random thoughts – a possible sermon title, for instance: “Putting Your Ors in…” I don’t know where that came from, and it means my brain is still in the week-to-week preaching mode. But at least when you see it, probably sometime next year, you’ll have been warned.