Easter Monday: Whale Watching With Angels
I had read in a book way back in grammar school at Holy Cross School in Ventura, CA, in a time that is now referred to as “Mid-Century,” about boys hiking in the Alps on Easter Monday for a traditional lunch at high altitude with the angels. That custom may or may not have been true, but the thought of having lunch with the angels has always intrigued me. Perhaps, because my patron is St. Raphael the Archangel, the thought has always been somewhat appealing. After all, if you were an angel, wouldn’t you want a little break after all the hullabaloo of Holy Week?
Circumstances prevented me from wandering into the Santa Cruz mountains looking for angels to share ham and Easter eggs. The day was perfect, with a mild breeze, as I headed out across Lighthouse Field to Point Santa Cruz. The sky and the water were dazzling as I headed west up the coast along the ocean before it rounds the Point into Monterey Bay. There was excitement in the air. Whales migrating south to the Sea of Cortez around the tip of Baja California were passing by 100 to 300 feet offshore. They showed some interest in a kayak heading in the opposite direction, but continued on in graceful arcs, undulating effortlessly in the current as they coursed through the water.
It was a strange moment. The moment the houses along West Cliff, the roiling waves and sunlight all got stretched onto an impressionist canvas. I could see the brush strokes, the layering of the oil, the weave of the canvas. My neighborhood of almost 20 years became completely magical, serene, and spirit filled. I had pounded this walk many, many times before and it was always striking, even when cares and illness were heaviest on my heart, but today it was literally unreal.
Well, I guess my patron Archangel and his buddies were not waiting for me in the redwoods after all. It wasn’t the picnic with the angels that I had imagined as a boy. Whale watching with the angels on Easter Monday is something else.