I've just come back from a week long camping trip to Big Sur. It was epic. We went diving every day to six different spots, four of which we had never been. The ocean was calm and the weather was as good as it gets.
I've returned to the world of hot showers, comfy couches, and meals that I don't have to prepare from scratch and clean up thoroughly thereafter. My initial thoughts....
I'm sitting in my office right now surrounded by taupe colored walls and paneled ceilings emitting artificial sounding noises typical of tubular light bulbs and industrial sized air vents. My phone has 11 missed calls and 9 messages. On one of my screens I see an inbox of 645 e-mails, on another I have the surfline forecast for Big Sur, 2-3 ft this morning, steadily rising to 7-8ft on Wednesday, down and up again come Saturday. My brain processes none of this.
Detached and a bit uneasy, I casually get up and walk to a friend's desk, one whom minutes are routinely wasted per day regaling adventures and fish stories, to ease my mind. I smile, the bank of new tales to tell entering my thoughts as I round the corner, but she's gone. She's moved to Houston. What to do...
I walk outside, maybe the fresh air is what I need. I've been in the office for less than 2 hours and already I feel like Phillip in a surgy kelp bed, but upon exiting the office doors I'm greeted by red lights flashing and the sound of a train, construction on the parking garage next door and the deadening hardness of concrete.
Where are the birds, the sounds of the woods and the waves? The part of me that was asleep and then awakened can not fathom my choice to return to this, existence. There is a line 10 deep of ordinary looking folks at Pete's, I could join them, perhaps be warmly welcomed by a barista back into the real world. Or I could walk across the street and get a delicious burrito bowl full of Chipotle's version of 'adobo' chicken, even still I could walk a bit further and get a $25 foot massage while I catch up on Chinese television. The possibilities are endless, and suffocating. Are we insane? The wholesome spirit of the natural world that has fed me for a week is completely gone, replaced by... this.
Give me dust, dirt, rain, mud, racoons that can open coolers and squirrels that treat us like stupid tourists. Give me bluebird wake ups and unidentified rustlings in the leaves, wind in the branches and popping fires.
I feel good again. I left a thumbdrive in the car and when I opened the door to retrieve it I was hit with the smells of another epic trip. Campfire, smoke, dirt, fish, salt, beach. The smells are as good and clean as any in this brightly lit and freshly washed place. I am thankful for the smells, reminders of the people, the food, and the times. I am thankful for the magnitude of Big Sur and how it changes me. I am thankful for the ocean and the cliffs and the coastal forests. The diving was incredible. I scare to think of letting this spirit that has stirred lie dormant for another year. Hopefully I can fill it with weekend excursions, while I wait to do this again for days and days.