Monday, July 4, 2016

perspective on cape perpetua

We had clamored over the volcanic rocks along with many others, their skin tones a wide range of hues and their languages sharply distinct — Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, Japanese. Surely others, too. We were united in our fascination with the coastline and our awe as the pounding surf was thrown back by the sharp black rocks on which we stood.

Cape Perpetua (Phtoto: C Imes)
Every dozen yards or so the water had prevailed, with its persistent pounding, slicing a trench that progressively narrowed into stubborn rock. Here the waves picked up speed with a kind of focused frenzy, hurling themselves at the obsidian walls that taunted and restricted their progress.

The surge, the deep boom, the spray, and then the clatter of droplets, thrown helpless on the solid barrier, only to slide back down and drip into the churning sea.

Innumerable mussels clung fast to the hardened lava, daring the waves to pry them free, depending on the moisture and food delivered with each flailing attempt to carve stone.

Emma on the edge (Photo: C Imes)
We—my family and I, along with at least a dozen others—took our places around a deep bowl, hollowed out by the sea, which rushed to fill it through some unseen tunnel. Again and again the water would flood the enormous bowl and then be sucked out, leaving a gaping chasm encrusted with dripping mussels. Then, just as suddenly it would swell again with seawater, splashing and churning, lapping at the toes of the most foolhardy among us, eliciting gasps and shouts from all. Flush, fill, flush, fill. We watched, awestruck, as the sun slipped toward the horizon.

A few hours in the presence of such raw, unbridled power and my life feels very small indeed.
Cape Perpetua (Photo: C Imes)

Then, like the rapidly receding ocean water, we hurried to retrace our steps and climb the path to our parked car. We had just a few minutes to make it to the top of the cape for a birds' eye view of the sunset. The road wound up and up and up for two full miles, ending at the top of a coastal mountain. We rushed to the edge of the trail to look out across the expanse. I was dumbstruck.

View of the Coastline from Cape Perpetua (Photo: C Imes)
The powerful, churning waves were so far below us now that their pounding produced little more than a whisper. The sharp black rocks that held the waves at bay—merely a fringe for the heaped blanket of coastal mountains that towered above. The endless sea lay quiet and glistening beneath us as the sun slipped at last beyond the horizon.

The lesson in the crashing surf was merely a foretaste. If my life shrank beside the surge of seawater, it nearly vanished from the tip of Cape Perpetua.

And yet—

the incomprehensible mystery—

I, though infinitesimally small, have been invited to contribute, to partner with the One who designed all this.

Cape Perpetua 2016 (Photo: C Imes)
I am to cherish and share this creation with others. Still more—I get to participate in its ongoing development. I get to speak to it, engage with it, and shape it (for good or for ill).

The Creator shares with me the joy of co-creation, the dignity of service, the delight of influence.

And so I write, hoping to capture the brilliancy of a single evening in typed words so you can join me there on the cape, awestruck. You, too, are changing the world.

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