I’m still processing all the marvelous experiences that we had in the Galapagos last week. It is going to take me more than one post to capture everything about the trip, what we saw, what we learned, what we remember. The thing that struck me most of all, however, is clear already: the sky. The sunsets and sunrises, both of which I watched each day, were outrageously glorious. We had a full moon while we were at sea. At night, because we were so close to the Equator, we could see the Southern Cross and the big dipper in the sky at the same time (something Matt and I last did while on Kilimanjaro).
Related to how much I loved the sky was the emptiness. Over and over again we could not see anyone in any direction from the boat. We felt like the only people in the world. One morning, after traveling overnight to Genovesa Island, we walked along the ridge of an island formed by a volcano. As we walked carefully over black lava rocks, the view was breathtaking. I could not stop thinking of the last lines of Gatsby:
… face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
Oh, yes. This was commensurate to my capacity for wonder. This island, so far from home, out in the Pacific Ocean, no land visible in any direction, was nothing short of magical. I exhaled slowly, trying to capture everything about the moment and preserve it, remember the fullness of time, the glory of the physical place we were, the bigness of the emotion swelling in my chest.
I looked up to watch the birds wheeling in the sublimely blue sky. I saw my children in front of me, tall, lanky, growing before my eyes, shedding the skins of early childhood and moving towards adolescence. I watched the ocean lapping at this former volcano, traced the various shades of heartbreaking blue out toward the horizon. There is no way to capture it all, this life: I can only grope around the edges of experience, fumbling clumsily as I try to express what it is to be in this world. To watch. To witness.
There’s no question that in the Galapagos all four of us felt wonder.
None of us will ever forget this trip. The animals, the sky, the time together, the reminder that this world is enormous and can still take our breath away.
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