Wednesday, August 3, 2016

July Self Portrait

There was a birthday card my sister sent me more than a decade ago. On it was a photograph she had taken from one of her excursions out west, with these adorable yet bizarre-looking seals. The message inside said:

Have a wonderful day of your celebration of birth in your 19th year! Leave all your worries behind and eat lots of pie, but do not set any fires! ... Do not fret any longer, fretting only uses up time and produces only doubt. That is unproductive, and you are the most productive person I know. I want you to know that you are the sweetest, most beautiful person in my life. You've kept me going ofr 19 years! Keep confident and stay honest to yourself and you will always be brilliant, I can promise you that.

Obviously, my sister is pretty awesome. And of course the photo and message stuck with me. I immediately added Elephant Seal Rookery and Big Sur to my Bucket List and tucked the card away.

Now, twelve years later, I am checking those boxes and realizing the card couldn't be more true. For starters, we ran into an impressive forest fire that shut down several of the hikes and view points. I was, of course, bummed as the overlooks were covered with a dusty-orange plum of smoke and the entrance path to infamous McWay Waterfall was draped in closed caution tape.

But what could we do? Not fret. We powered through the thick haze and made our way to a gorgeous hike in Lime Kiln where we met several larger-than-life Redwood trees. We took in these eerie, once-in-a-lifetime views of the Pacific Coast Highway sprinkled with firefighters. Mike confidently drove us up, down and around, pausing at every chance to get just one more photo. And yes, we finally met our Elephant Seals, just like the ones on my sister's card.

The whole trip was nothing short of brilliant. We didn't over plan or exhaust ourselves trying to see every site. We embraced every moment, even the ones in a gum-filled alley.