Heirloom Tomato with Shaved Red Onion & Point Reyes Blue Cheese

Heirloom tomato.jpg

I picked up a hefty heirloom tomato at the farmer's market last weekend. It looked like as though it was about to burst open. As a light lunch, I sliced it open and topped it with a dollop of homemade saffron aïoli, thinly shaved red onion, Point Reyes blue cheese crumbles, and a smattering of parsley and chives from the garden. Delicious with a strip of crispy bacon and half of a seven-minute egg sprinkled with piment d'Espelette and Maldon sea salt!

Lost, Found & Faith

Point Reyes Presbyterian Church – January 28, 2018

Point Reyes Presbyterian Church – January 28, 2018

"Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." –John 3:5-8

I never understood what Christians meant by being "born again." The concept itself defied all logic and reason. Didn't Nature dictate that we were all once born through our mother's wombs? How, then, was it possible to be born again? What did it mean to be "born of the Spirit"? 

Earlier this year, God answered my questions by having me directly experience what I had so deeply doubted: I was baptized. And, yes, it is possible to be spiritually born. (I felt it myself, although, I realize that some things are better understood through experience rather than explanation.) 

The Spirit does indeed blow wherever it pleases. It can come upon you when you least expect it, as it did for me. You don't know where it comes from or where it's going, but when God is calling, you know it's Him. And then, when you look at your life, it starts to make more sense. 

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'" –Luke 15:4-6

He found me.

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

If you take Highway 1 for about an hour north of San Francisco, you'll find yourself at my favorite place in the whole world: Point Reyes National Seashore, a nature preserve with expansive beaches, jagged cliffs and rolling green hills. This majestic landscape is in distinctive class of its own. Its beaches are neither sunny and hippie like Venice Beach nor is it exotic and tropical like those in, say, Hawaii. There's nary a palm tree in sight. Instead, the Bay Area's signature fog holds court over the skies, rough winds will lap at you, and it's likely you might not see another soul on the sand for miles around.

I would've never known about this place had it not been for a wrong turn made many years ago by an ex who had intended on taking me to Napa Valley. Even upon realizing his mistake, he kept on driving in the wrong direction anyhow, which, to be honest, unnerved me–at least initially. As we drove further and further from the Golden Gate Bridge, however, the more lush and breathtaking the scenery became. I no longer cared where we landed. The ride itself was mesmerizing and the long stretches of road felt liberating, especially after years of being accustomed to the suffocating confines of Manhattan. 

We finally came upon a small town and stopped into a store to pick up provisions–a bottle of wine, a loaf of sourdough bread and a wedge of blue cheese. "Where are we?" we asked the shop owner. "Point Reyes," she replied. "If you take a turn and go down that road there, you'll find a wild beach." So we followed her advice and took an endless road that wove its way through miles and miles of pastures dotted with grazing dairy cows before finally arriving to what felt like the ends of the Earth.

As we sat on a sand dune with our goods, watching a gorgeous sunset sink into the abyss of the Pacific Ocean, with rabbits and deer darting around in the tall grasses behind us... I remembered thinking: Point Reyes. I must return here one day. I suppose I was afraid that I might never find myself there again because it was a relatively obscure place and required a bit of driving to get to. (I'm terrified of driving.)

While my travels thereafter took me to Spain, Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Caribbean and beyond, I'd never forgotten about the magic of Point Reyes. 

Two years ago, my boyfriend convinced me to go on a motorcycle trip up the coast of California. We stayed in Paso Robles for a night, then rode up through Big Sur and stayed for a few days in Carmel. Our last stop was supposed to be San Francisco. Truth be told, I don't care much for San Francisco at all. It was then that I proposed we extended the boundaries of our trip just a little more and visit this very special place that I happened upon over a decade ago...  

When I was in Point Reyes last weekend, it occurred to me that, sometimes, the memory of how you discovered a place loses its meaning over time, especially when you're there creating new moments with the person you're with. What was past faded into a misty backdrop; what was real was before me... Until that fades away too.

The lyrics to that Beatles song "In My Life" encapsulates this sentiment perfectly:

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life, I love you more