I had my camera charged and ready for a day spent roaming the beautiful rooms and gardens of the magnificent place Hearst called, La Cuesta Encantada, the "Enchanted Hill". However, things didn't quite work out the way we had planned.
Leaving behind the San Francisco Bay area and heading down toward the central coast, our day started out as planned. We arrived in the San Simeon area on time and made our first stop along the beach a few miles north of San Simeon and the castle. This area is home to a colony of Elephant Seals.
Hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s there were only about 100 left when the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972.
Then, around 1990 about a dozen seals arrived on this beach and began to call it home. They settled in and started reproducing. Within 5 years there were close to 600 babies born on this beach. Today, at least 7,000 - 10,000 elephant seals swim happily in the waters off shore and snooze on the sand. It's a remarkable story of recovery.
So I had the happy notion that I would go back to the car and change the camera lens which I proceeded to do over the very vocal protests of my loving husband. I raced to the car, changed the lens in the now pouring down rain and hurried back to snap a few more pictures. These horrid, gray, fuzzy, and still not very close photos were the result of my efforts.
By now my exasperated family was thoroughly wet, cold and more than ready to leave the beach behind. As we were walking back to the car, guess who suddenly realized she had locked the car keys in the trunk of the car? Guess who also realized the spare key was in her purse which was locked in the front seat of the car. Guess who's phone was also locked in the car? Yes, that's right. We were standing on a windswept cliff, miles from the nearest town in the pouring down rain.
To make a long story short, my husband, The Investigator decided after 15 minutes of debate to pick up a big rock and break the back window of the car door, a bit drastic but very effective. Of course, there was glass everywhere inside the car but he was able to reach in and unlock the door, cutting his hand in the process. We ended up sending our children off to go see Hearst Castle while we checked into the hotel, cleaned up The Investigator's hand and found a place to vacuum the glass out of the car and tape up the window . We also ended up spending the rest of the trip with our car door looking like this.
So here is my cautionary tale, good things do not happen when you selfishly pursue your own personal interests and disregard the feelings of others.
I would like to share that although I was thoroughly and completely ashamed of myself and I asked for forgiveness from each one, not one word of reproach came from my sweet husband or my children then or since. In fact, now my kids all wish I had taken photos of the window breaking moment (as if I would have dared !) as they are sure it has always been their father's secret desire to do so.
Another lesson is one we often forget in the moment of crisis, that is that God often uses unexpected things for good. In this case, while we missed visiting Hearst Castle with our children, we were able to spend an entire afternoon with some very dear friends who lived nearby. We sat together over a glass of wine on the terrace of our hotel room and after the rain, we watched the sunset together sharing old memories and making new ones and who can ask for more than that.
God is always good and always working for our good and in the end that's the lesson to remember.
This is where I leave you but before I go, I need to let those of you who are following me by email (not blogging) know that if you are sending comments to me I am not receiving them. I haven't been able to figure out why you can't leave a comment but if you are using the reply to email me it isn't working either. So if you want to communicate after reading a post then you can just send me a regular note via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Hopefully, I will be able to figure out what I am doing wrong. When I do I will let you know. :)