I was a tourist that week, trying to take in the sights and essence of the Pacific Northwest. And since it was my first time in Washington, my sister-in-law had lots of road trips planned. We would drive to Seattle for a day at Pike Place Market; we would play in tide pools and find star fish in Crescent Harbor; we would drive to the top of Mount Erie to catch a wide view of the Sound; we would picnic at Deception Pass; we would take a ferry to Friday Harbor.

During the first two days of vacation, our plans went off without a hitch. I ran along the shore until I was out of breath and shopped at the Market until I was nearly out of cash. I saw large swaths of landscape I had never seen before and decided all trees should be allowed to grow so tall.

But by the third day, the marine fog came. And for hours each day, I could have been in Muskogee or Ogunquit or Jeffersonville or anywhere, really. All we could see for miles and miles was fog.

It’s one thing to be in my hometown and have the fog roll in. It’s like walking through the house at night in the dark on the way to the bathroom. I might stub a toe now and then, but generally I know my way around. It’s another thing entirely to be somewhere new, somewhere I really want to see, and be stuck in the fog. 

It can almost ruin a girl’s day. Almost.

Though the fog delayed us, however, my sister-in-law had such a vision for what she wanted to show me that she would not be deterred. As we wound our way up Mount Erie, the fog snaking in and around the trees, she told me about the view that I would have seen. Since I had ridden over the Deception Pass Bridge several times, she could point from the shore where the bridge started and stopped. And when the fog began to lift, I saw that she was right.

And on that hour-long ferry ride to Friday Harbor, she told me about the islands and my nephew’s boyscout trip to a campground we passed and the whales that sometimes swim by and Mount Baker in the distance. So by the time the fog had lifted on the trip home, I just soaked up what I already knew was there.

What I couldn’t see for myself, I could appreciate and admire through the vision of someone who loved me.

May I always see so clearly.

holy experience

Today, I am writing in community with Ann Voskamp and friends, discussing the spiritual practice of Seeing. Follow the link above to read Ann’s thoughtful post and then scroll to the bottom and see what others have written.