I entered my day off last week starving for rest—uninterrupted time to simply be. Remarkably, my day was wide open, which hasn’t been the case for a long time. I had no lawns to mow, cars to fix or people to meet. Then, to my dismay, my college-aged son Daniel asked me to help him with his geology project. He needed to visit the Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge to do some research. I could see my precious “day of rest” melt like snow in a furnace. I thought about the traffic! The arduous commute there and the woefully lethargic return back during rush hour! My heart sank.

To say, “No”, however, would have been selfish. So I said, “Yes,” with a feeling of reluctance. Off we went, just the two of us down into the traffic-infested freeways of south Marin County. It was a fogless November day filled with blue skies and California sun. Through a one-lane tunnel we entered the Headlands. I’ve lived in California nearly half a century and I’ve never been there—at least that I remember. It was like entering a strange mixture of natural beauty, ruins and history rolled into one.  

Our first stop was Rodeo Beach. My son and I walked along the beach drinking in the ocean, the breeze, the pebbled sand and colored cliffs. Before long we were picking up multicolored stones and climbing rocks. We poked sea anemones and checked out the carpet of mussels on the low tide rocks. We were smiling, laughing and chatting about life—something I hadn’t done with my son for many weeks. We hiked to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, explored pre-World War I ruins, walked through bunkers embedded into the hills and stood on top of Hawk Hill. The view from there was an exercise in speechless wonder.

But here’s the thing. I was so lost in the joy of exploring with my son that I didn’t even realize that I was at rest. My heart was happy and full! I was experiencing the beauties of earth with someone I genuinely enjoy.

After a brief stop for some delicious clam chowder in Sausalito, I took my son to the train station, hugged him goodbye and watched him leave. A surprisingly perfect day had come to a close. It was a gift! More than that, it was a reminder that the key to being filled is often found in the act of giving yourself away to the divinely appointed interruptions of life. Too, it was a reminder that sometimes the rest we need is not found in the inertia of nothingness but in the exploration of new wonders with the people we love. This will be a savored memory that I will carry with me for many years. For that I am thankful.

(Originally published November 12, 2014)

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