Today was a day outside time, truly perfect. The kind of day that renews your faith in everything.
First, I was able to go back to sleep after the beep, beep, beep of the garbage trucks backing up at 6:00 a.m. I've managed to fall asleep immediately and sleep 6-7 hours each night for the past week. That, in and of itself, is a miracle.
The day dawned with streaky low clouds blanketing the sky, heralding a blustery, overcast spring day, but by the time I finished on the treadmill, every cloud had vanished. The air was cool, the sun's rays warm. Perfection.
I drove five miles out into Carmel Valley to take some things to the new house, and it got even better. I stood on the deck with my face turned to the sun like a morning glory, absorbing the view of the mountains, and listened. It's so quiet in the valley that every individual sound has its own distinct presence. Today, I heard the very distant hum of some type of machine. It could have been a leaf blower or a chain saw; it was so far away I couldn't tell. The sound was just enough to remind me I wasn't the only human on earth. Otherwise, the silence was only broken by an occasional bird call and the crow of the rooster who lives somewhere in the distance down the valley.
When I left the house, I couldn't bear to go anywhere inside, so I drove to the garden center at the bottom of our hill. It will be months before I can begin planting my garden at the new house, but I was looking for inspiration. I found it. Everything I've dreamed of planting--roses, rosemary, more types of lavender than I've ever seen, sages, orange and lemon trees, ceonothus; even the exotic kangaroo paws and bottlebrush from Australia. I was in heaven.
When I got home, I ate lunch on the patio, sunning myself like a lizard. It was wonderful, although we're going to have to get a patio umbrella or I'm going to have to start wearing a hat. Even with sunglasses, it's so bright I can barely see. Also, coming from Minnesota, I'm just not used to being able to be out in the sun this much. I have to start considering my skin.
After lunch, I drove into the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, parked at the end of Scenic Avenue, and walked the length of the beach and back. A brisk off-shore breeze chilled my cheeks, and the wide, white beach and rolling breakers were postcard-perfect. On top of that, I had the place nearly to myself.
When I got home, I still didn't want to stay inside, so I walked up to my favorite independent coffee shop. They make a mocha chai latte so good that my daughter dreams of it back in Chicago. Chai in hand, I stopped at the chocolatier next door and bought the ultimate indulgence--a box of tiny truffles, all for me. I hope I have the willpower to make them last through next week.
On my way back, I passed a big orange car carrier delivering someone's new red Ferrari--a sobering reminder of the price of paradise. Many of the people who live here are indeed very wealthy. But as I continued on to our modest condo complex, largely inhabited by retirees and regular working people, I realized money isn't the essence of Carmel. It isn't about Ferraris and mansions. It's about the breathtaking beauty of the natural surroundings. It simply feeds the soul.
Today reminded me why this is my inevitable place.