Strange and wonderful how God provides a place of healing for you when you don't even know you are going to need it. Yet, that was the realization that came to me today.
Once again, as we awoke this morning, Crater lake was still covered in smoke. The atmosphere was better than the day before, but still smoky. I got up early to go to the store and post the blog since that is the only area with internet connections for us. When I returned, Judy was already up and sitting with a cup of coffee on the picnic table outside our cabin. It was a chilly morning, around 50 degrees, so we both needed our coats.
Once we all had breakfasted, packed and loaded the car, we yet had to wait for the gift shops to open so we could do a little shopping for souvenirs. It gave us the opportunity to ride up to the 1923 lodge, located right on the rim of the crater. It was a breath-taking sight as you can see below. We were amazed to find Wizard Island almost clear! Judy finally got to see the beautiful azure blue water, though from a distance and still in a little smoky. We never could see it from rim to rim.
Leaving for the five hour journey to Trinidad, CA, and the redwoods, we discovered the smoke getting thicker. It was a very unpleasant time for about a third of the trip as the smoke irritated our eyes and sinuses.
As we turned on the coastal highway, US 101, near Crescent City, the sight of the tallest trees in the world, the coastal redwoods, absolutely amazed us. This particular variety is fond in only one place in all the world; right here! They are so amazingly tall that I was unable to get a picture of a single tree, bottom to top, without distortion. They appear curved in the picture, but in real life, they are straight as an arrow.
For those who may travel this way, let me say that US 101 is not the best highway in the world. You have small patches of four lane roadway, but much of it is curvy, two lane with little pull offs on the side for slower traffic, allowing faster vehicles to pass. The worst part, however, are the one lane sections where construction is taking place. There you have to wait until either an attendant or a traffic light gives you permission to go ahead. Most of these sections came about because half of the roadway literally fell away at some time. We decided that it must have been caused either by a mud slide, or by too many Chevrolets driving "through the USA" during the late 50's and 60's, for those who remember that old jingle.
I must say that I was not expecting much from our accommodations in California. The pictures on the internet did not inspire me, nor did the descriptions or reviews convince me. I thought it was just a rustic place in a little village by the ocean. Furthermore, as we passed through the other little towns on the way, my expectations fell even lower. Judy always does a great job of researching places for us to stay, reading reviews and checking amenities, but I began to worry that something had gone awry this time.
Boy, was I ever wrong. The little cottage is just like the pictures, though maybe the interior a little nicer now, but what is true about this place is something you can't really put in a review or describe on an internet site. There is an atmosphere here; a quiet calmness, even when the little village is filled with people. As soon as you drive up, you feel that it is a place for healing, perhaps even a "thin space," as the Irish say. I will admit there is a possibility that I felt it more intensely due to the deep need for healing in my own soul right now.
The house is small and quaint, the yard resplendent with coastal herbs, plants, and flowers; one for which Judy is determined to find the name. There are two sets of doors with full glass on the front looking out over a church to the rocky shores of the Pacific below. Tonight the bay was covered in fog, the almost full moon momentarily breaking through. We walked down the street in front of the cottage, past the church, to the viewpoint overlooking the harbor, and felt this wonderful sense of peace, and realized that in some miraculous way this had been planned all along. Maybe you can get a sense of what I mean as you look at the pictures below, taken mostly by Judy this time.