Saturday, July 01, 2006

Finding a Width of Hard-Packed Sand

I've been in California for five years now. But I've never been on the beach.

I've been near the beach. I've sat above the beach and I've looked at beaches. But I've never been on the beach. This is really just a practical matter, because all that happens when my tires hit sand is that they turn in one place, digging me into a deep hole. I don't go anywhere. So it's not that I don't love the beach, it's just that the beach doesn't work well for a guy like me.

That changed last weekend when Karen and I were on one particular beach in Half Moon Bay. We found a level entry off the path, where the sand wasn't too deep. After I got through that loose sand by the path, I found something I didn't think I would ever find here: I found that on this particular beach the sand has a little clay mixed into it. And when this sand gets wet, it gets firm and solid. There was a width of hard-packed sand on this beach that allowed me to actually spend some time on the beach. It was a singularly satisfying experience to put my hand in the water and just watch the waves so closely.

I wish I could now say that I've finally found a place here in California, like I did on that beach in Half Moon Bay. But I'm not sure I have. I've made many good friends, I've experienced some of the most beautiful geography and weather in the world, I've served in four different churches and I've studied hard. It has been good and worthwhile being here. But I've also dug myself in a little. I've gotten stuck. I've spun my tires. Those widths of hard-packed sand have been too few and far between.

I've been out of place here for most of these five years. Maybe one day I will look back and see just how appropriate it is to feel this way.

But for now I'm beginning to think it's just about the right time to head back home.

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Blogger Rev Sam said...

In Hollywood films it is something of a cliche to see someone running on the edge of the surf, and I never realised the practicality of it until I came to the home I have now - it is the only place where the sand is firmly packed.

I hope you find your place to be.

Saturday, July 01, 2006 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gpsh Preston, if I'd have known you'd never been down to the beach I would have arranged for a whole team of seminary litter bearers to escort you in grand style like a Roman emperor. We could even have had lictor-bearers and a grand feast afterwards. :)


Saturday, July 01, 2006 2:38:00 PM  

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