just breathe

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  However, that is not the case for everyone.  The holiday season can be fraught with expectations unfulfilled, family drama, and often a bit of mayhem.  The new year can be a time of great anticipation for new experiences or it can be a time of uncomfortable uncertainty.

This year, I felt the need among the hustle and bustle to just stop and take a deep breath.  I can think of no more restorative place to do that than Big Sur.  Those of you who follow my blog or Instagram know what a special place it holds in my heart.

As I made the drive up Highway 1, I could instantly feel my blood pressure drop, and as always the sheer beauty of this coast could bring me to tears.

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Almost any place you stop you can see vistas like this…

When I arrive at the ranch, I am struck by how different it feels from my last visit.  Instead of air filled with the acrid smell of smoke from the Soberanes Fire, it has been replaced with the sweet smell of pine from the redwoods and salty ocean breezes.  Where the paths were bone dry and dusty, dewy green grass has sprouted.  It is almost as if spring has come in late November.

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So heartening to see green again after recent rains…

You may wonder what on earth i do with myself alone at a ranch amidst 300+ acres of wilderness.   I like to take scenic drives along the coast and marvel at how it can look so different and yet also the same.

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Big Creek Bridge along Highway 1
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Turquoise water at McWay Falls
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Big Sur showing off it’s beauty

I hike…a lot.

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One of the many stunning vistas while hiking the ranch…
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Part of the hike is through the redwoods
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There is beauty around every bend
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Endless vistas and grassy trails

I actually spend time reading books.  There is no cable television (although I can watch DVDs) and no cell phones…heaven!

But most of all,  the solitude allows me to slow down and take notice of the small things…  the quiet, except for the sound of the surf, a family of quails that I startle on one of my hikes, a majestic red tailed hawk circling over head, and at night, an inky black sky twinkling with a multitude of stars.  It is always a gift to experience a Big Sur sunset as it dips into the ocean.

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Big Sur sunset at the ranch

It is just as glorious watching the sky turn from black to pink to cerulean blue with the morning light.

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Early morning view from the bedroom window…

Just outside the ranch window is a Bottlebrush that is now the size of a small tree. It is covered in red blooms which in turn attracts dozens of hummingbirds and bees that make it seem like it is alive and moving.

And then there is that vast expanse of ocean and coastline which seems bigger and grander here than anywhere else.  I literally could spend hours doing nothing more than watching the waves which are hypnotic if you stare at them long enough. It is a perfect moment to reflect on my many blessings.

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The power of the Pacific…
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I love watching and listening to the waves crashing against the rocks

I am beyond grateful and thankful every time I step foot in this most awe inspiring place.  I feel restored and ready to face the holidays and the New Year whatever they may bring. Hoping that you all find time to breathe…

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