Here the sky comes to meet the earth.

February 7th, 2016, 7am

Here the sky comes to meet the earth. The enormity of it brings us to silence as we crest the hill in old-worn pickups and the reproduced voices of Elton John and Queen, drops open our mouths and stills our feet as we balance on this balancing point between land and sea. Cliff-hanging anticipation at the edge of our literal cliff.

Because Big Sur feels like it should not exist. It feels temporary, stolen from the ocean when she wasn’t looking, dragging some of her beauty from her depths and letting the light fall over it. The highway we took is something that should not exist as well, something that gives me hope in humanity, because we cut into cliffs and flailed precariously on edges simply to see beauty.

If only we saw more things as beautiful.

But I digress. We did not come here for philosophical insight (no matter that it is intrinsic to being here). We came to experience. So we drag out the sleeping bags and stack the wood, placing our fire in the remains of the last, tempting the cliff with licks of flame. The boys string hammocks in the trees and my friend and I lay out a thickly woven blanket with more stories than we are old on the grass. We don’t stay long, falling down to the ocean with the wind that laughs through the trees. The water is freezing and the stone-filled beach cuts your feet, but it’s part of the beauty, not in spite of it. Two in wetsuits, four on stone, one in corduroys and one in a rash guard. A giant crab and sea anemones, and mussels on the rocks. We stay and climb and dive beneath the waves until we cannot feel our legs, and then wind back up into the trees to our cliff above the sea.

The night is cold and deep and choked with stars. An arm of our galaxy a dense milk curled through the sky. We pass around bottles and pieces of mango, curled into one another and on top of one another, singing softly along to Jack Johnson and listening to the intense grape-filled drama of the stoners that lay out beside us, because it’s Big Sur, and we are all strangers and friends. Because it’s Big Sur and there is something about all of this, something about our spontaneous community in the middle of a grass-topped cliff that fills you up. That makes you want to watch the stars and curl into a stranger’s shoulder. That makes you want to wake up for the sunrise and uncurl into the day with hands outstretched. That makes you want to take a moment and see.

Because here the sky comes to meet the earth. But he is sidetracked by the ocean’s expanse, eyes shifted sideways at his sunlight glittering across her outstretched arms. Called to by the waves pounding their ceaseless roll and drum into the sand, her endless beating hearts. Tempted by the promises of his favorite pride, of his gaudy light, reflected back twice. She waits.

And he falls into her embrace instead.

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Sonja Daebelliehn

A sticky sweet personality ebbing in the flow of the smooth coolness of California natives. The calendar claims nineteen but the heart claims three and the soul eighty-two.

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