There are places I’ll remember all my life…”
We all have places that are special to us, places that we love to visit over and over again and never grow tired of. There are any number of reasons that these places affect us and capture our attention. Perhaps it’s their natural beauty, architectural design or historical value that gives the place meaning to us. Sometimes it’s an emotional or sentimental reason that make these places special to us, we simply like the way we feel when we’re there. We pick up on the vibes or energy they emit and feel a sense of quiet calm, a peacefulness that seems to elude us elsewhere. No matter the reason, these places have charmed us and left their mark upon our souls. When we’re away from these places we miss and long to return to them. And return we do, again and again and again.
My favorite place to visit is the island of Maui in Hawaii. My first visit was in November of 1998. I fell in love with it immediately. It was an incredible experience, I was touched by the tranquil harbors, Swaying palm trees, the radiant sunsets that seemed to set fire to the western sky and the breathtaking beauty of the Maui starry nights. It was incredible! By the end of the week I didn’t want to leave but of course I knew that I had to. I loved it so much that we returned for a two week stay six months later. It was heavenly. Since then I’ve been back eight times and each time it gets harder and harder to return to the mainland. I could easily spend the rest of my life on Maui but my wife couldn’t. She enjoys visiting the island but could never live there. She just doesn’t feel the magic like I do. What a shame.
Another place that I could readily return to again and again is Lake Nacimiento in Central California. I first visited the lake as a teenager and had the good fortune of returning to Nacimiento for a week every August for several years. A few times we went back a few weeks later for the Labor Day weekend. I have never seen so many shooting stars as I have at Nacimiento, not even Maui could compare. Incredible! It’s been several years since I’ve been back but I recall my visits as though I was just there recently. The enchanting beauty of Nacimiento is etched upon my soul forever. Another of God’s masterworks!
Next on the list would be Sedona Arizona the land of the red rocks, followed closely by the magnificence of the Grand Canyon. Both locations are incredibly awesome. They possess some sort of cosmic energy that fill me with joy and awe. I could return to both time and time again and never tire of the scenic beauty and serenity they bring me. More of God’s loving handiwork.
I also love our local coastline. From San Diego to Monterey there are spots along the coast that are incredibly beautiful. Closest to me is Laguna. I began going to Laguna on a regular basis when I was a senior in high school. I’d been through it with my parents a few times before but over spring break I spent the entire time at Laguna with three friends. Sitting out on the rocks watching the sunset was amazing. I could never tire of the experience. While most of our friends were hanging out at Huntington or Newport Beach, we choose to be in Laguna. My grandpa used to say Laguna was God’s country. I think he was right. I also love Montana de Oro State Park near Morro Bay and the area near Big Sur. Just more of God’s great work.
Closer to home there are the San Gabriel Mountains particularly Azusa Canyon. I grew up in Azusa and the canyon was our playground. I can’t tell how many times we rode our bike up into the foothills, ditched them in the brush and hiked up to Seven Pines. Later when we started driving we ventured further into the mountains to the East Fork and Crystal Lake. I never tired of taking a drive up those mountain roads and I still like to drive up there occasionally. I was just up there last week. I love it! There are some things that money can’t buy that touch our hearts in just the right way and we never grow tired of experiencing them again and again. Thank You Jesus!