THE SUN BEAMED LIGHT upon my eyes and through clouds as the sound of a street cleaner vehicle hummed the sound of a symphony gently ending their crescendo with soft somber beauty. I thought this must be what it is like when one leaves Earth and is sung into heaven by a choir of angels. This is how the Oregon Coast informed me that my time was up from the past 12 weeks I’d spent exploring the length and breadth of its glory and wonder.
In that holy moment it was not the incredible vistas and views of spiritual mountains expound their mystique as they explode from the ocean’s depths; nor the countless beaches which I suppose is really just one beach that occasionally shows itself which were the images crossing my mind in fervor- It was the people.
It was each and every face and story I had been so fortunate to share and behold. Because “my face” and who I am is of course not my possession, for it is always and at all times being shared uncontrollably with the viewer who is perceiving what I so naturally present. And these faces stroon through my mind in such rapid haste that I became completely overwhelmed as tears began to swim upon the eyelids.
I remembered back to the beginning of the kindest park host I’d ever met who invited me to his RV my first night to share a couple of beers, laughs, talk of God and government and nostalgia for times that once were and are now seen through with a gentle love we both knew to be false on some level as memories always have with them some kind of fog which masks what at the time we had to complain about. Because “the good ole’ days” were never really as good as we remember them unless we remember them as not good but holy. For all of our days are holy if we embrace life to the fullest and relinquish our control of the past and present and future to the One who is present and with us now.
I remembered the young man of Florence who setting out on his very first adventure to “find himself” and find what he wanted to do in this life by quitting his job, packing his bike and setting out down this Grand West Coast.
I remembered “the cherry man” of South Beach who for every passer by and customer would greet them with “Has anyone told you today that Jesus loves you” as he is doing his great work for the Lord and his eyes and smile you feel it and know that you are mightily loved and everything will be alright.
I remembered the occult practicing magician of Bullard’s Beach who I’d spent three nights listening to the conspiracy theories he’d accepted as Gospel and wished to share with the world, only to become befuddled by my question: “How does this information help me love people?” Deep beneath the information he had the all-encompassing desire to be free and to help others become free. He was a very generous soul always offering what he had to share with others at that campground.
As I am writing this I am hearing the gentle scrapes of animal behind me and in the bushes, the Great and Cleverest Thieves of the woods who wear their masks so as nobody could point them out in a lineup if they’d be caught. And yes, I remember them very well and fondly as I have yet to be bothered to any real degree by their presence that is always there when spending your time living in the temple of a tent in the somewhat-wild.
And all of these memories lead me to where I am now; beginning a new adventure of a different sort. I will always be walking, I will always long for the road each day and the unforeseen happenings that it undeniably presents. I was thinking today about why I love this life and why this is the work I have to do for the world: to walk. There is something about walking the road at 3 miles per hour and with the unexpectation of what may happen that I believe our world sorely needs. There is something about walking the road and being open to whatever direction the Good Lord leads and to change everything in an instant if that is The Will which is so foreign to how most of us, and I myself for a time, live. In our “normal role” within society of going to work each day, getting in our car and performing our expected tasks, we become established in the routine of things. And there is certainly something to be said for that. It is a masterful game of chess we play. But some of us, perhaps, many of us, become quite bored with that game. We know that there must be something different out there – some other way of living that is free and beautiful – and people of the road are that story for many. They are an inspiration and initiation for others to launch themselves into a life of full discovery if they should be wired to feel the need to discover it. For not all are meant to. It is a type of freedom which some need to take the risk to discover and a type of freedom for some to simply acknowledge exists as we carry on whatever activity is most pressing and important to us.
And so wherever I am in this great big and beautiful world growing smaller with each step in mind that I am so blessed and honored to cover, I shall think of the Oregon Coast as it sang to me on this evening’s walk and that faces which cast their shadow onto mine. I will think of this incredible place with a sense of home for all time and rejoice at every reunion for however long those reunions may last in momentous and raucous applause.
I will return soon…