Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Mother of Waters and Sanfra

My hands rest on the keys of a shiny new computer. I bought it for the trip. David needed a computer for editing his pictures and for his writing, so I let him use my old one. I enjoy the click of the keys and watch in wonder as words appear on the screen. But my wonder is but a pale glimmer of the shining I saw in David's eyes Monday. 

Barry met us at Carpenteria and took David down to the water. David stood at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in silent awe at the endless expanse. The waves rolled in, soaking his shoes and the cuff of his pants. Barry, Joe and I walked around him chatting, and chuckling. We could not pierce the profundity of David, sky, ocean, breeze and birds as they locked themselves into a matrix of unity so intense that all else disappeared. Gradually the sacredness of the moment crept into each of us; leaving us vacant of emotion and thought to experience the majesty and beauty surrounding us. We stared into the precious ecstasy of the here and now David was experiencing.

Finally, someone asked, "David, what do you think?"

David's voice rasped,  "I...I...don't have words."

Gently, as if with a child, Barry led David to a bench near the shore. We tried conversing with David to get his share more deeply of his experience. It was little use. His eyes kept returning to the waves, birds and sand. Finally, it was time to go. As David got into the car he shook his head and I heard a whisper, "Mother of all waters...I have seen the mother of all waters...all life came from her and to her all life will return."

We arrived back at our hotel and I took David to get a few supplies for his microwave. As he entered his room he turned back from the door and looked at me.

"It just hit me, Dale. I just realized that I have actually seen it...I have actually seen and touched the Pacific Ocean." Chuckling, he closed the door behind him.

I stood for a moment in the parking lot. The light from David's room cast kibuki shadows on the curtains of his window. I heard my voice. "So I have I have I. I have looked at the Pacific many times, from planes, boats and from the shore. But today I actually saw it for the first time."

Perhaps it is only after living through great suffering like David's, that we can see true beauty and experience profound joy. But then who does not suffer? Perhaps the beauty and joy are with me always...if I take the time to look. Thankfully I have people in my life who help me to see. It beats the H E double hockey sticks out of television.

Yesterday morning, after a good night's rest the traveling trio headed to Sanfra (a.k.a. San Francisco to those unfamiliar with David's map of the world). Our original plan was to stay at Salinas for the evening. However, as we grew ever closer to our ultimate goal the David's excitement grew. An offer to drive on through to Sanfra was met with a robust affirmative.

I stopped to access the internet and booked a room at the Travelodge at the corner of Market and Valencia. We made good time and arrived at the check in counter around 3 p.m. During check in we chatted with Roger (the owner/manager) and threatened to film him.

"Please don't take pictures of me...once I was a big I have to work for a living."

Laughing I added, "Yeah me too. I was a big shot once...but I gave it up for Lent."

Roger chuckled and once more I shared a bit of the background of our journey. Roger finished checking us in, but as he handed me the keys he held my hand for a moment.

"I gave you the weekday rate for Friday."

"Thanks Roger."

"It's okay...every drop counts."

Every drop counts. Yes indeed. Enough drops and I soon find myself in an ocean of kindness.

David could scarcely contain himself. I watched as he walked around the parking lot puffing cigarettes like a chimney. His cane seemed an inconvenience rather than a support. He was more alive than I have ever seen him.

We took a quick driving tour of the Castro and Fulsom street...most things were closed but we scouted out the locations for David to visit. David went to his room to plan out his adventures and I went to mine to call lifeline to hearth and home.

Yes, this morning I sit in front of shiny new computer. I tap out a few words in a vain attempt to capture the experience of watching dreams become reality. But, in all honesty, just like David at the edge of the Pacific - I have no words.

Today I will experience more wordless wonder. Wish me well as I do you.

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