All this week I’ve been on Jury Duty stand-by and today I finally had to go in. I was prepared for a long haul sitting in the main room reading a book on the iPhone or worse sitting in a court room listening to the same talk by the Judge and the lawyers time after time after time. This, however, was not to be. Nope, instead we were released around 9:30am. To late to make a Supervisors meeting and too late to make the CPR class that followed said meeting I decided I had a day to myself. I had no responsibilities at all and no obligations. I just knew I didn’t want to do the ‘usual’. So I started to drive….and drive….and drive some more until I found myself trundling down the 76 heading towards Oceanside. Wanting to make it more of an adventure I started taking the odd left or right at streets I recognized the name of. It’s amazing how little Oceanside of 2016 looks from the Oceanside of my youth. I managed to find my way to the Oceanside Pier. It wasn’t particularly crowded but I also didn’t want to pay for parking so I just kept driving south along the Oceanfront. It was high tide and the waves were breaking on the rocks really close to the road which was pretty cool. I rolled down the windows and breathed in the sweet ocean smell. A smell that instantly takes me back to my youth. I’m not really sure why because we didn’t spend all that much time at the beach as kids. I think maybe just the hint of the smell of the ocean is in the air even as far inland as Vista and now it means I’m home. Or not…..maybe I’m just trying to be ‘romantic’ for romantics sake. It was a lovely drive that led me through Oceanside and into Carlsbad.
At this point I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. There was always the stand bye of going into Encinitas to the REI. Going all the way down to Ocean Beach to the book store Mysterious Galaxies or even all the way down to SeaPort village. It was almost intoxicating knowing I had all of these choices, endless possibilities in front of me to choose from. Yet none of these choices really rang true for me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go all the way down to San Diego, didn’t have any spare money to buy anything at REI or the bookstore, so I just stopped. Sometimes your best bet when faced with many choices is to stop. Smell the roses. Take in the moment. Be present in the now. So I pulled over to the side of the road near where many many people were also parked and I got out of the car and joined the throngs of people enjoying the beach.
I was swept up in the wave of people walking, jogging, rollerskating, dancing, working out, riding their bikes, surfing, and doing yoga on the beach. There were dogs everywhere you looked and the sweet sounds of the surf pouring over us all. I let my mind drift and I walked. I walked to count the steps for the day. I walked to see how far I wanted to go. I walked to take in the moment, the people, and the beauty of the high tide. I’m actually not entirely sure you could call what I was doing as walking. It was more of a slow stroll, stopping every few moments to enjoy the spectacle of the surfers catching the waves or the many high end bikes that whizzed by me. Usually at this point I’d be looking at the bicyclists and thinking to myself how awesome it would be to be out with them doing the same but this morning it was different. This morning I was content to stroll, to watch, to breath in the world and settle into the sense of being.
In the end I walked a little over seven thousand feet or roughly three miles. Enjoyed the fresh air and was quite content to end the morning driving off down Pacific Coast Highway and past the old SDG&E power plant before continuing on with my little road trip through roads I’d never seen or heard of. Eventually I found my way to this moment. Munching on a late lunch, content that I spent my morning well, refreshed and ready to head back to the rat race. My little timeout was nice and now I’m ready to dive back into my work week and handling the day to day minutia of raising a family.