Sunday, November 14, 2004

Star in the East

Monterey Bay November 14, 2004

A weekend with Kim and Carolyn not soon forgotten.

The view from our hotel window was breathtaking. Monterey Bay is one of the few places in North America where you can watch the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed the wedding of Kim's cousin, and Kim was able to visit with cousins and other family and friends not seen for years (and Carolyn and I were duly introduced as well -- the similarities in Father/Daughter hair genes were often noted, but the humidity teased some rarely seen and lovely waves in Mother's hair too).

Beyond the Wedding, what a treat was in store.

Oh how we were surrounded and awed by His Creation.

Our view captured otters frolicking atop kelp forests in the Bay. Harbor Seals dashed by under our window as well (a hotel with uncompromising views and sounds of the Bay is recommended to those who may pass through).

In addition to the otters and seals, we saw a jellyfish and two starfish (and we hadn't visited the Aquarium yet!).

Pelicans, ducks and countless seagulls, including this near Nigel moment:

Seagull, Monterey Plaza Hotel, November 13, 2004

The sounds of the ocean were spectacular. We heard what I thought were firecracker-like pops Saturday evening. Kim reminded me these were the seals slapping the water with their flippers! We had seen them in the late afternoon playfully spanking the Bay, and they continued through the evening -- as well as barking like the neighborhood dogs (Carolyn now knows well the sounds of seals after sleeping with them for two nights). Listening to the waves crashing against the coastline through the night is something I will never forget either.

What can I say about the Monterey Bay Aquarium except that it is one of the most striking exhibits of God's Creation I've ever experienced. The beauty of the sea creatures I witnessed today can be no accident (why is anything considered beautiful?).

I had never visited the Aquarium before, while both Kim and my Sister (who has to visit from Indiana) have. I was moved by the focus on Creation, and not Man's presentation of it, highlighted by the elegant simplicity of the exhibits.

The otters were, of course, playfully and irresistibly adorable. The word frolic surely must have been coined with the first sight of these floating furballs. My favorites were the kelp forests, the young great white shark and his tuna friends, and, well, how can I put this, the artful Hand of God exemplified by the ethereal jellyfish. The variety of jellyfish was an ignorance on my part that was simply astounding.

Much more to be said regarding Creation, but I thought it quaint that Darwin was on sale in the Aquarium bookstore. I didn't search exhaustively for iconoclastic views, but did ask myself rhetorically if such a collection of monolithic literature was not rather intellectually stultifying, or even intolerant (yes, perhaps I'm being a bit purposefully coy, but there is a lifetime to discuss this topic).

I simply ask:

Two gifts of Creation -- A child contemplating and enjoying a flower --

Carolyn November 13, 2004

These are cosmic accidents?