I'm back from my Big Sur trip and had a great time. I wrote some notes everyday so instead of uploading everything at once, I figured I would upload 1 blog for each day. Here's day 1...
My trip last year to Mount Calvary in Santa Barbara was such a rewarding experience. A month after my visit, the monastery was unfortunately completely destroyed in the Montacieto fires. I vowed that visit that I wouldn’t forget the value of silence and the importance of alone time with God. I found it to be so rewarding that I was going to make my best attempts to take one of these retreats every year if possible.
This year I’ve made my way to the New Camaldolese Hermitage in Lucia, Ca. This monastery has one big difference than Mount Calvary and that is complete silence ALL day long. (With exception to the bookstore and trips down the hill of course) So this is definitely a new experience.
Day 1 – Star Sightings
Wednesday morning I woke up early and headed out on my journey. After 4 ½ hours and some really winding roads on the 1, I finally arrived by noon. I met one of the Monks at the bookstore who let me know where my trailer was. The view 1300 feet above the pacific is beautiful and when I found out that my trailer has a wrap around deck looking out to endless ocean, I was speechless.
My trailer, named Doxa is simplistic and yet I fall in love with it while unpacking. It has a bed, nightstand, desk, kitchen and a bathroom. The weather is perfect so I open up all 4 windows and let the cool breeze pass through. I look out the windows at the beauty of the forest and say to myself, “I can’t believe I’m staying here 3 nights!
As evening falls, I pour myself a glass of wine and go out on the patio. The garden in front of me is like Snow White’s meadow. I see a deer in the distance and a red tail hawk perched on a tree. This has nothing to do with anything but can I just tell you about this bunny that can’t stop looking at me? Someone must have been feeding my rabbit friend because every time I come outside he hops out of nowhere to see me. I’m convinced that if I spread out my arms and sing a song that a bluebird is going to come land on my finger. Disney magic just may be alive here in Big Sur!
The Sunset was beautiful. Watching the sun melt into the ocean and smelling the salty night breeze from the sea leaves me almost chocked up. What an amazing God we have!
Evening turns into night. I read, pray, journal, pray, take a hot shower, did I mention pray yet? As I get nestled into my bed I decide to open the blinds to the window right next to me. Wow! There is a small tree right outside my window. There are so many stars out in the sky that my tree almost looks like a lit up Christmas tree. I jump out of bed and head out to my patio. How could I have forgotten to look at the stars? I’ve never seen this many stars in my life! It’s amazing. I come back to bed look out my window and sing “Oh Christmas tree” as I drift off to sleep.
I dozed off to sleep about midnight while watching my Christmas tree outside. 2am I hear something on my patio, something large. I can hear it moving my chair and table and walking around loudly. I lay in silence wondering what it is. I hear it come to my door, which is right by my bed and I hear smelling sounds. I don’t know what it is but in my head it’s a bear. It sure isn’t the dainty deer I saw earlier or my bunny friend. Should I sing and call them for help? I hear the smelling up and down my door and like a little girl I pull the covers over my head. I see headlines in tomorrow’s paper, “Big Sur tragedy by Big Ben.” I finally forced the inner child away and jumped out of bed and knocked on my door to scare it off. Silence. A couple seconds later the sniffing continues and so this time I turn on my light and pull the blinds to my patio window. Whatever it was ran away.
At camp over the summer with the church kids, I was feet away from a bear and wasn’t scared at all. I do have to admit that it was a dreadful camp experience and I did kind of figure if the bear didn’t kill me, the camp would anyway. But I’m really out here in the middle of nowhere alone…and it’s a weird feeling. Alright back to bed.