report back

Some scenes remind me how fleeting and impossible to capture most things are. Sometimes I don’t even bother to lift my camera deciding to soak it in instead and other times I take nearly the same photo ten times in a row. I love that we still try to report back to each other.

I’ve spent many days relishing in a stranger’s joy, like the perfect photo of their adorable pet. Yesterday’s adventure to the Oregon coast proved to be filled with those sorts of moments, from a toddler running into the ocean with a parent close behind to a teenage couple tripping over roots so enamored by their time together. I peered down from above as I snapped the following shots, hardly remembering why I turned to look in the first place but just happy that I did.

I planned to wood carve after hiking for a while and taking so many photos. My phone was nearly dead so I turned it off while I curled up on a massive log along the beach. I thought I’d close my eyes for just a few minutes and soak up the sun but found myself relishing just being and doing absolutely nothing. I never opened my bag to carve. For nearly two hours, it was just me, the log, and my thoughts.

On a podcast I listen to, one host mentioned how there are little moments of heaven in life, like when your order is on its way and you know it’ll be there soon. This time on the log felt like one of those moments. It was nearly meditative and reminded me so much of aspects of my sabbatical along with parts of my year in Salt Lake City during the height of COVID. I’d bring my hammock with me in the sun, the rain, the snow and sway mostly in silence losing track of time.

The more places I venture to, the more I see how each place offers its own hints of heaven. In San Francisco, there was the farmers market just two blocks from me that had the best chicken with potatoes that would roast in the drippings. Another few blocks away was Dolores Park where I’d go to read in the middle of the day staring off at the view of the city. San Diego had the most epic sunsets and the best soccer playing weather along with the most fun I’ve ever had playing pickup. I never, ever got used to either — it continually left me in awe. Salt Lake City offered up mountain views with ease. I must have hundreds of photos of the same mountains trying to photograph them at every angle possible. And how do I even begin to capture all of the other cities I’ve spent days/weeks/months in?! Sometimes when I experience that taste of heaven somewhere, I’ll try to imagine what it must feel like to get that same joy for decades to come. How would you honor those moments over time? How would they evolve and you with them?

Upon arriving in Chamonix, France via train, a friend of our airbnb host offered to drive my mom and I the very short distance to the apartment where we would be staying. As he drove, I stared at the mountains and asked, “do you ever get used to it?” He smiled and said no. I found great comfort in his answer.


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