Friday, May 04, 2007

Sunday Scribbling: Ocean


I miss the ocean. For much of my life, I lived close enough to the Oregon Coast that my family spent many, many vacations there. Sometimes we joined up with other families and sometimes it was just us. Each trip left plenty of memories.
~~Flying kites with Dad. Feeling the tug of the kite on the strings and guiding (or trying to) the kite's movements across the sky before losing control and it nosediving into the sand.
~~Sandcastles, digging holes until you "struck" water.
~~The places we visited--
-the evocative or fun to say names: Devil's Punch Bowl, Manzanita, Willapa Bay
-memorable side trips: exploring state parks and The Sand Dunes
-quintessential "beach town": the little shops, bakeries and book stores
-spots to stop where the large waves crashed onto the rocks, the biggest ones spraying visitors

-at one museum there was an open tank with an octopus inside. We visited there with the family we were vacationing with and one of the boys leaned over the tank to get a better look. The octopus reached up a tentacle, grabbed the boy's shirt and slowly started pulling him in.
~~Long walks along the ocean's edge, feeling the wet sand give under your heels. Looking back and seeing the line of your footprints.
~~Watching the foam bunch up on the beach and on the incoming waves. Always thinking of the fairy tale that says ocean foam is mermaids after they've died.
~~After a big storm one year, finding deposits of tiny broken shell pieces on the beach--thousands of colorful and smooth fragments for girls to collect.
~~The constant movement of the waves, their roar a backdrop to all activities.
~~One of the houses we stayed at was up on a cliff and there was a long staircase down to the beach. Step after step after step took you down under a cool canopy of trees to the bottom, where the beach was not sand but stones. There were many tide pools filled with anemones and starfish.

~~From another house we stayed at, the walk to the beach was a quarter mile over and around little sand-grass covered hills.
~~At other houses on the cliffs, you could look down to the beach below. Dad and us girls drew large pictures and messages in the sand for Mom to see when she stayed up at the house.
~~New Year's Eve at the beach--a huge windstorm knocking out the power. Playing pool by candle light.
~~The utterly soothing feeling of falling asleep on the beach. Under the blanket the warm sand supports every part of your body. Waking up with a sunburn.
~~One time in winter as children, daring the waves. Too cold to take shoes and coats off, but seeing how close we could let the waves get to our feet. I'm running backwards away from a wave and I trip and fall. I feel an instant of terror as the pale green salty waves wash over me, I'm certain I will be pulled out to sea. I am drenched from my heavy brown coat down to my socks in my now squishy shoes. The miserable walk back to our house with wet jeans sticking to my legs. The scolding and the warm bath afterwards.
~~Watching the changing colors of the ocean from a beach house window. Wishing I had a dress that iridescent grey green-blue color with lace trim white like the frothing waves.

8 comments:

jennifer said...

Oh My Goodness!
This is a wonderful post, I could see it all as you described and going to the Oregon Coast so much as a child too, I experienced so many of those memories too...
Isn't the Oregon coast magical?

Crafty Green Poet said...

what wonderful memories of the sea. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer said...

i loved your post, it reminded me so much of a child growing up along the lake. We use to dig holes in the water and than when a friend came walking by it would suddenly be up to their neck...lol Thanks for the memories...

Tori said...

It is wonderful that we always have our memories. I have never been to the west coast and would love to be able to visit the other Portland :) and head to the west coast sea.

Rob Kistner said...

Rena - I was swept right into your post.

My wife Kathy and I spend many a day (and night in the summer) walking the beaches of Oregon -- winter too.

The drive along the coast from Astoria to Brookings never gets old!

And the Dunes from Florence on south. I love it here!

ish said...

So many people posted photos of the sea. I loved yours very much. Your text is full of evocative specifics like the fragments of shell. Beautiful.

colleen said...

I do relaste. Wce should start a support group for those of us displaced from the ocean!

Lauren said...

Oh, some of your descriptions remind me of my childhood vacations on Cape Cod or along the Great Lakes. Thank You!