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Beautiful, Nonetheless

Yosemite-Wildfire-2Two years ago,  Jen and I were out in San Diego celebrating our five year anniversary. We had talked about making the long (8 hour) drive up to Yosemite on the trip. You know. Since we were so close *sarcasm*. But the recent wildfires had left the valley filled with smoke so we decided that it wouldn’t be worth the drive if we couldn’t see those epic views.

Fast forward to 5 days into our trip; we’ve done the beach, we’ve done tacos, we’ve done In-n-Out (multiple times. Like an embarrassing amount of times) so the topic of a Yosemite road trip comes up again. Half serious, we look up the weather and the live webcams from that day and all signs lead to clear skies! So we decide to go. At this point, it’s midnight and the webcams were useless. If we were going to go, we’d have to chance it.

This was the plan: Wake up at 3am, start driving. Once it’s light out, we’ll check the webcams. If it looks clear, we’ll keep going.

So we did. (that’s right on 3 hours of sleep. Because if you want adventure, you have to hustle for it) Once the sun came up we checked the webcams to see what looked like, and what we hoped was, fog. A good 3 hours in at this point, we decided to hope that is was fog and that the sun would burn it off.

It wasn’t fog. It didn’t burn off. When we arrived, the sun was blazing through the smoke that had shifted into the valley overnight creating a red-orange haze over the whole park. It looked like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie and it felt just the same. Ash fell from the sky and the smell of the smoke was wild and unforgettable. There were signs everywhere warning the elderly and people who were ill to stay inside and cautioned all to limit their time breathing in the smoke.

And even though sometimes we couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of us, it was still epic. The views were limited and not what we expected but around every turn was something worth a “wow!” It was a great lesson for me to learn: Sometimes you get where you’re going, after a long journey and a lot of build up, only to find that the destination is not what you expected. It’s little hazier. A little less clear. It looks different. But it is beautiful nonetheless.

No matter how much you plan for what comes next. No matter how clear your vision is for your destination, it will likely be different than you planned. And I want you to know that that is okay. Because where you are is beautiful nonetheless. Here’s thing about life; life doesn’t know that it has to adhere to your vision of perfect. It doesn’t have your grand plan on file for reference. All life knows is how to happen. And it will do that no matter what your plans are.

So be here. Be in the hazy present of where you are. Because this is where you are and it is beautiful nonetheless.

P.S. We drove back to San Diego that night. 16 hours round trip to see a smoke filled Yosemite. Like I said, you have to hustle for adventure. Even if it turns out to be a misadventure.

Happy Tuesday, folks!

Chris

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