I hope it doesn’t come as a surprise

Greyhound Beach 02Yesterday I went for a walk on one of the dozen stunningly beautiful beaches a few minutes up the coast from Santa Cruz, where the majestic waves of the Pacific Ocean were roaring up close to the shore then getting embarrassed by a kelp audience and quieting down to softer white flows of water that slid humbly up the sand.

I was with one of the many friendly and kind-hearted Americans I know, comfortable in our conversations about what engenders happiness and a good life, Buddhist principles and finding the balance between individualism and community. As we walked the length of the beach, a couple tiny pieces of plastic caught my eye, since we have an admirably widespread aversion to littering that leaves our coastline impressively clean. The only thing on the beach besides footsteps of humans and canines were little jelly caps of mysterious oceanic providence, but sure looked like mermaid slippers to me.

Greyhound Beach 01On the way back we stopped by a locally owned and operated restaurant for a snack of fresh local calamari. We ordered the chicken and vegetable soup, and when it turned out they had quoted the Soup of the Day wrong, they gave us the tomato-basil bisque for free. America reliably has by far the best customer service I’ve ever seen. Then we returned to a town by the sea where an hour’s walk along the shore provides good odds of seeing seals, otters, and dolphins.

I thought to myself “I really love this land.” And shortly thereafter “one probably wouldn’t guess that from my last blog.” Though that is one of our best features, is it not? That one can have strong opinions, and that’s okay. We don’t have to agree on everything in order to respect each other, and live together. (I still hold that to be true in America, no matter what Faux News wants.)

So yes Lady America, you fair damsel simultaneously insecure and arrogant, wise and foolish, I love you. You are beautiful, noble, ridiculous, inspiring, disappointing, and at the end of the day, one helluva nice place to live.