Sometimes, I will have an experience that I desperately want to share, but cannot find the accurate words to describe it. I postpone writing it down until the memory fades, and I’m left with just a vague feeling of happiness, trying to recall the details that seemed so amazing at the time.
This is my feeble attempt to describe an experience with the hope that you can share it too.
Last week was the first time I have been to southern California. It was two days filled with amazing beauty. I kept the windows open in the hotel room, listening in wonder as waves crashed throughout the night. Occasionally, I would sit up in bed and stare at the moonlight reflecting off the water. I’ve been to the beach before, but normally I spend my time chasing after toddlers with a bottle of sunscreen, and then fall into bed exhausted. This time, I was with my teen daughter and her friend, so I was able to relax and really absorb the beauty around me.
On our last afternoon, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I looked into the distance and saw a whale rise up out of the water. We watched for a long time as it continued spouting; an amazing sight to someone who had only ever seen fish jump from the creek! It amped up the high I was on from being surrounded by so much natural beauty.
The next morning, our flight left Los Angeles at 6:00. It was still dark as we flew a short distance over the Pacific and then circled back toward the city. I always enjoy seeing city lights from an airplane, but I’m often sitting over the wing. This time, I had an unobstructed view.
A short time later, we were flying toward the sunrise. I kept my eyes trained on the sights below, thinking perhaps we might cross over the Grand Canyon. Hubby has often said he would like to travel through the western states. As a child, he lived for some time on an Indian reservation in Wyoming. He has told me how amazing it is, but I’ve always balked, picturing nothing but vast sand pits.
What was most remarkable about this flight was the complete lack of clouds. Typically, the sunrise will reflect off the billows, but this time I was able to watch it fall across the land below. I watched in utter amazement as the sun turned the sand, rocks, crags and valleys fifty shades of pink. Great crevices running deep within the earth reflected purple in the early morning sun. The horizon was a magnificent shade that had to be the color my great-grandmother tried to convey when she described something as “sky-blue pink.”
The rock formations that I had only seen in movie Westerns were stunning to see in real life, even from 35,000 feet. I longed to reach out and touch the basins of layered rock. I wanted to explore it, and be part of it. Suddenly, the earthy Indian rituals I’ve only read about in books or seen on television, made sense.
My faith is not in the earth itself, but in the one whom I believe created the earth. I have been struggling in my faith, struggling with my place and purpose in this world. But as I stared out that tiny window, mesmerized by the vast beauty below, I felt as though God was saying, “If I can create all of this beauty from rocks and dirt, I can create beauty out of you too!” I felt like he was showing me that he cherishes me as part of his creation. I know it sounds lame, but it was real to me, and I couldn’t hold back the tears.
I was sitting in a row by myself. I have no idea if anyone else on the small, dark plane was even awake. Maybe they had flown this way a million times and didn’t feel the need to stare out the window for two solid hours. I was being given a personal tour. When we crossed over the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, I was struck again by the magnificent beauty of the earth.
I walked off the plane on a high. A God high, a nature high, and a high from the understanding that my faith is intact, and I am part of a picture that is much bigger than what can be seen through a 10x15 inch window.
Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.