The Things that Lie Ahead

Walking along the beach by Crystal Cove just southwest of Los Angeles I had a feeling, a feeling that asked me, “What’s around the next bend?” And around the next bend was more of the same, sand, and rocks, and tidepools brimming with life, like sea anemones, and hermit crabs. And the feeling still pulled at my heart, “What’s around the NEXT bend?” So I walked some more, and I could see far, further than I had time to walk that day, and a small hamlet in the bend, but I could see the houses were the same sort I had driven by. The feeling only grew.

Walking in Tangi Shadyan just south of Mazar-e-Sharif I had a burning in my heart, a burning that said, “Climb to the top, and look out! See what you can see,” and so I did. At the top I saw the solid edge of the rock like a cascade down to the rolling muted green hills, and beyond the dusty plane, the hazy city just ahead. In the other direction I saw valleys with mudbrick villages, sheep dotting shrubby slopes, and ruins. There were higher peaks to the south and my heart still burned, “What would you see at the top of THOSE mountains? THOSE ones, with snow on top!” And the burning in my heart stirred as familiar voices called me down to the Land Cruiser taking me home.

And a still park in Arcadia, light tumbling through the trees, awakened similar longings. Could I capture the perfect shot? I tapped the button in my phone, took the picture, beautiful! But how I wished to drink the light, to hold the evening in my being somehow, to capture it and make it mine, but it slipped through my fingers and ran down the fading pathway to past tense.

High above the Atlantic in a Boeing 747 my stomach lept as I leaned toward the window. I wanted something, something more. I could see the icy shores of Greenland and wondered, would the North Pole fill the longing? I looked into the deep blue below me and wondered about whales, searching diligently for waterspouts. If I saw a whale, would my eye be filled with seeing? Would it finally be enough? I thought of destinations, ahead and as of yet unseen. My body trembled with excitement, for the things that lay ahead.

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