I had spent the day trampin’ around the Santa Ynez Mountains on and off trail. It was late afternoon and heading quickly toward night, as I sat on a rock outcrop looking over the blue Pacific Ocean far below. I had about an hour hike back to where I had parked and figured it was time to mosey. It was just one more choice among countless others made through out the previous hours since I had raised my head from the pillow and rolled out of bed.
Sandy Dearborn in Stephen King’s From a Buick 8 says, “I don’t believe in coincidences, only chains of event which grow longer and ever more fragile until either bad luck or plain old human mean-heartedness breaks them.”
My choice to head back down the trail when I did was one that, like all decisions that day or any other, was one more link in a long chain of events that could have, at any point, been broken. This would have led to an entirely different ending for the day.
On the way back I paused repeatedly for different lengths of time to rest, look around and enjoy the view; more choices. Then, as I emerged from a stand of oak trees in twilight and came into sloping grassland, the golden glow of sunset drew my eyes toward the west and I stopped. My existence at that moment in space and time, my timing and position in altitude and distance, was near perfect. All choices that day had led me to be standing at that exact spot at the very moment the sun had set right between two rolling hills.