I walk a lot. I like to take a route that goes from my house to downtown to the ferry docks and back. There’s a long trail that goes through two parks and the whole trek is probably about 4 miles. I try to do this walk whenever I can because not only is it good for my body but it is beautiful. I get to see the various people and buildings downtown and the brick and older folk that hangout in the Fairhaven area. I also get to walk through the forest and along the Puget Sound, where I’ll sometimes see various animals such as seals and ducks playing in the water. It’s a beautiful walk and I greatly enjoy my time. (Also, my butt looks great).
Last night’s walk was particularly wonderful for a few reasons. For one, the weather wasn’t super hot, though it was a little muggy, but the clouds were back and there was a light rain, so it wasn’t too bad. At one point, it did start raining a little harder, though this was a great mishap as I was able to get an espresso poured over Oreo gelato and it was AMAZING! I also had to wait on two long trains, which was not amazing, but that’s okay.
A few times, I would stop on my walk and just look around at all the wonderful beauty around me. Normally, I walk while listening to music, but when I take my little moments, I pause the sound and listen to whatever there is to hear. Sometimes, its conversation. Other times, all I hear are the sounds of The Sound; waves shush against the beach rocks, gulls and ducks chatter and dip under the water, and the wind whispers damp, salty air through my hair.
It was lovely. Well, until some damn woman came up and started talking to me. She wanted to point out the river otters that were playing just off shore, which I had been looking at, and comment on the general beauty of the scene. I agreed with her. The sun was setting and streaming through small breaks in the clouds onto the calm Puget Sound waters. In some places, the pink light caught the shadow of rain falling in the distance, dyeing it.
The woman then signed deeply and said “God is great” and, since this was a stranger, I simply nodded in agreement. I understood what she meant and I also didn’t want to get into an argument with a stranger on a dock. What she saw was a scene made for her by a creator who she called God. She thought she was seeing His hand in the waves, the hills, the birds, the light. She thought that she was seeing God through nature.
In the end, we agreed. What she was trying to say to me was that she thought what we were seeing together was breathtaking, which was true, we just had a different perspective. I think mine is far more beautiful than a creator. I look at the Puget Sound and I see the randomness of The Universe that, hundreds of years ago, began to create the necessary components for stars, which warm our home. The Sun just so happened to form and Earth came together just in the perfect spot for liquid water to occur, giving life a fighting chance. That water froze and flowed and changed the face of the planet, changed where my ancestors came and went, changed my life. The choices of people who would never know me or imagine me made it possible for me to even exist on this random planet.
I looked at the beauty of the Puget Sound as I stood there with this woman and felt awe. I was blessed with life thanks to events out of my control and that is what I worship. I thank the Universe for existing and Life for allowing me to experience it. I would never credit such glory to anything but nature and my heart hurt slightly for the woman who would never bother to learn about what really had to happen for us to be standing there together, looking at the river otters gliding through the water, because she thought she already knew. She thought it was a gift from God.
I said my goodbye and began to walk, Lighting Crashes by Live playing in my headphones. Others had stopped to watch the river otters in the sunset-stained water and I wondered how they saw the moment. I wondered if they were even thinking about it.
Later on, I was alone on the trail and saw the river otter again, this time swimming in a water hole shaded by birch trees. I had the moment to myself this time and didn’t waste it thinking about glaciers or god. This time, I watched the otter glide between flustered geese and ducks. I took note of how his nose popped up and down as he swam and how the color of his coat matched the logs that he slid past.
The sun has started to come out and seems to promise another beautiful evening walk. I can’t wait to see what the universe has for me to stumble upon today.
Hail Beauty, my Darlings!