I borrowed Nancy’s 911, removed the T-top, and headed south on Pacific Coast Highway. I knew exactly where I was going and about what time I had to be there. I had to be there. It couldn’t wait. I’d waited too long already.
Peter Gabriel’s Secret Garden was playing in the wind. How perfect a choice I thought at one point, then the music and the views took me back again. PCH is a driver’s highway. No one in the car, please—not with this all around me—well, maybe a very close friend, but not today. Today, I need to be with me. I need to touch my values.
Earlier this week, someone said that I have character. I wasn’t surprised to hear about it. I was surprised to hear the word. It was like a sweet elixir. How long since I’d heard that word outside of business? I had been left wondering about what other words the business world had taken from me. That was what brought me to this car, this drive down Pacific Coast Highway to a little known place and a sunset that few ever get to see.
Nancy knew where I was headed. Like a gourmet mom she’d packed a meal of apples, brie, bruchetta, artichokes, vinaigrette, and a bottle of Ronco Cucco--nice white that Ronco Cucco. Once I planned the place I’d set the blanket and the order I would eat, I leaned back into the drive and practiced thinking of nothing in the California sunshine. It’s a practice I wholly like to practice as much as I can.
I found the little road well south of Corona well after 3:00 p.m., which still left time to find a place perfectly situated to perfectly contemplate the land, the sky, the ocean, while I emptied my mind. Wisps of Peter Gabriel still playing in my head, “All the places we were hiding love. What was it we were thinking of?”
I sat with my back against the high rocks and my eyes entangled in the view. I opened my mind to breathe in the salt air and the values of a sandbox and school. I relaxed with a glass of wine. Ate my gourmet dinner. I watched the sun go down and felt it fill me up at the same time, and began to remember words like loyalty, and promises, and fair, and humility, and friendship, and pinky swear with the clarity and truth of childhood.
I wished for someone to watch over me. I wished for someone to tuck me in.
I wished so deeply my eyes were seeing backwards—I could see inside of me instead of seeing out.
Then I looked up and saw the sun had laid it’s flaming heart upon the water.
—me strauss Letting me be