Today, after I've had some sleep, and assuming I am able to navigate public transportation, I will travel to San Luis Obispo county, and spend some time in a small town in a house by the sea. I will go to sleep and wake up to the sound of surf. I will stare at the waves while eating ice cream, but I will make up for that by running the length of town (probably 2 miles) twice.
I will probably spend too much time on the internet, attempting electronically to make and manage the contacts that shape my life. But that, too, will be redeemed, as the beep-tinged white noise of the modem is lost in the whiter ebb and flow of the tide, the natural and real world attempting to contact me and ground me within it. I will try to listen.
One thing I know it will tell me about: the times I've been there before over the last 16 years, and who I was when I visited. A 14 year old entering puberty; a 15 year old barely puzzling through its attendant realities and the sense of a shifting self; a 17 year old beginning to come alive, beleive in God, and establish my own identity. A recent high school graduate, comfortable with myself and beginning to find a voice; a 21 year old, recently home from two years of service as an LDS missionary; a 23 year old, showing the place to friends for the first time, wondering what will happen with the ex-fiancee who has come along. A 25 year old software developer, beginning to note that even a vacation can't allay concerns about life and its fruits and the conncetion between choices and consequences. A 30 year old, having tasted both sweet and bitter fruit from seeds sown years before, wondering if there is any kind of gardner's grace he can learn, wondering how maleable life's paths are at this point, and what opportunities still exist.
Each of those people left something there. Good things I couldn't pack up and take home, bits of self created in recreation that didn't all fit back inside when it came time to leave. And sometimes, a memorial for burdens left behind, cast into the sea. With this visit, I will be at work and at rest, newly recreating, but with any luck, I will look in the closets and drawers, and find some of these old things.