Thursday, April 23, 2009
By the Sea, By the Sea
My cousin Nancy and I decided to celebrate Earth Day by taking a road trip. This sounds counterintuitive, and it is, but sometimes it does the heart good to get outta town and see a different part of the world. It turned out that the only day we both could get away was Earth Day.
We are seeing the Oregon coast. It is a favorite destination for us. We practice the “staring at the waves” asana, and feel calm.
We both grew up with the ocean, down on the Central Coast of California. Living on Vashon Island keeps us close to salt water and tides, but on Puget Sound the only times the waves are up are when there's a strong wind, or when a large ship sails by leaving a wake which breaks on the shore about 10 minutes after the ship passes. These waves are not the same as the steady rolling of the breakers on a sandy coastal beach.
So it is a coming home to sit here at the edge of a sandy beach and watch the waves roll in.
It is strange the things you miss when you leave a place you've lived all your life. When I left California and came to the Island, I found I missed the sounds of trains, which had always been part of the background where I lived in California. In fact, my freshman dorm in college was located across the street from the main coast line and my first night there I awoke to what sounded and felt like a train coming down the hall outside my door. I got used to that, I guess, but the first night was startling.
Skunks. I was astonished to realize after I'd been on the Island for a while that there are no skunks here. They were a part of life on the farm in California. Occasionally someone would hit a skunk on the road, and you'd see that pile of black and white fur and blood and you'd prepare to pass through a cloud of skunk miasma – whewie. When I visit California and smell that old familiar reek I feel surprisingly nostalgic.
As I write the sun has been coming up, changing the sky from nighttime gray to daytime blue with fluffy white clouds. A few hearty early risers walk on the beach. What shall today bring?
We may do a little beach walking. I may go back to bed. Hard to say. We have stepped out of reality for a couple of days, and we're rolling with the waves.