We have returned. Back to the ice and snow and cold and wind. No more desert, palm trees, pacific ocean, and shoes without socks. We had an amazing time.
I did not keep a journal, although the emails to home could suffice. We went to LA and saw the sights: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Blvd, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd, Hollywood and Vine, The Grove, the freeway, the Hollywood Sign and all the things I've seen on TV and wanted to see my whole life.
Very crowded. Too much traffic. How small town am I?
The drives through the deserts were amazing. Nothing like I imagined. Giant windmill farms up close.
Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Chandler were all wonderful. I could definitely live in the desert year round. Except for no ocean - that would be a problem.
Grand Canyon, Prescott, Sedona, the mountains - stunning works of nature. Overwhelming works of God's hand.
Huntington Beach, just outside of LA. Just what I thought it would be. There I could live. The ocean and sun. Together all the time. Perfection. I had my picture taken with a "real live California surfer dude (Mike)". Good guy.
At the beach, I felt strangely calm. I realized it was fulfillment. Obviously, since it took so long to figure out this particular feeling, I must not feel it too often :) Being in California. A life-long dream come true. True inner satisfaction.
I learned things:
I am not surprised at what God can do. I was speechless at the beauty of Sedona. Positively stunning. And what can you say about the Grand Canyon. But, strangely, I wasn't surprised. It's like I expect greatness from Him.
I am surprised at the tenacity of man. The DESIRE to get from one place to another. Across deserts, through or around mountain tops, canyons, water, forests - nothing stands in man's way if man wants to get from Point A to Point B. How did people find the Grand Canyon and Sedona in the first place?
I live in Canada. It's a big country. We have a national railroad and three coastlines - I know about getting from Point A to Point B. But aside from the Rockies, my country's train and road trips have revealed the space, the vastness and distance.
Man is determined. Scary thought.
On a dreadfully sad note. My cousin Cherie died while I was away. I lit a candle for her in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the red rocks of Sedona on Wednesday and she died early Friday morning. She is one of my favourite people ever.
One other thing I learned and I think it's a sign that I'm growing up. In and Out Burger, Carl's Junior, Chilis, Steinmart, Ross, TJ Maxx, etc., etc. They are just stores. Just because they are not here, doesn't make them better. They are fun, but they are just stores. This is important for me to learn and remember.