A month has passed. It seemed to blink by when I wasn’t looking. Time seems to like slip and slither past when you aren’t looking. It gets sneakier as you get older.
I have never been a big beach person. Going to the beach was something I did on occasion with my friends when I was a kid and later as a teen. I’ve done my share of swimming and body surfing in the waters of Carpenteria and Leo Carrillo beaches. It was fun, but never something I longed to do or begged my friends and parents to do. Moving to southern Oregon meant I was within striking distance of the coast once again.
My first years here were filled with raising kids and going to the coast didn’t happen. I moved away and came back 11 years later. The first few years I was back, I was married to a man who rode motorcycles. We were part of a group that rode every week. We often went to the Oregon coast for lunch.
For me it was a long ride to go someplace that was often foggy and cold with drizzle. I had had my share of wet, nasty motorcycle rides in Minnesota where it stormed all summer. I am not a seafood lover, so the whole coast thing often seemed pointless to me.
And now I live three block from the beach.
My short stint in Port Townsend, Washington taught me that a dog and beach make a good match. In Washington, the beaches were rocky and there lots things to find. Arty and I once found a huge, purple starfish in a tide pool. I found clams that still held the resident creature, the barnacles on the rocks at low tide were alive, there were crabs skittering around and sometimes other sea creatures were caught in pools for the finding. It made walking the beach fun and interesting. Arty had room to gallop like the wind and logs to leap over as she ran.
Port Townsend stands along the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, the strait that leads to the Puget Sound and Seattle. There are few waves, and the ones that come are small. The tides roll out a long way, leaving much to explore and things to see.
This place is far, far different.
We walk to the beach and cross a stretch of tall, coarse grass to get to the sand. The sand is flat and vacant. There are a few logs washed ashore, but not many. When it is stormy, the waves break one upon the other, and they break farther out than I have ever seen waves break. There are rows upon rows and breaking waves. I counted six rows one day. The wind can be biting cold as it screams in off the open waters.
Today, though it was still cold, the winds were calmer. The waves were small and fewer. The tide was out so the walk to the water was longer than usual. I imagine this how it will look in the summer when the storms have become less frequent.
But it is a dull beach. There are no rocks. No tide pools. Only flat sand stretching its arms in both directions. The shells that wash ashore are mostly broken. They are all the same kind. There are also the bits and pieces of what once were crabs lying scattered all over. Sand dollars are everywhere, but all are broken and smashed.
It not a good beach to look for shells, or living creatures. It is not a good beach for leaping over logs.
It is good for walking. For looking at the waves as they roll in. For watching the gulls wheel and dive. For watching the little sand pipers running in the water as it rolls its way back to join the rest of the sea. It good for Arty to run like the wind on the sand and in the tall grasses. She rarely leaps over the logs because they are so few.
But it is a dull beach.
Summer will see it filled with tourists and the walks will be harder. Arty won’t be able to run off lead because the people will fill the sand, the promenade, and paths in the tall grass.
I will learn how to live here. I will adapt. I have done so many times in my life. A girl from sunny Southern California learned to live in Minnesota. She can learn to live on the coast.
After all, it’s a new year. A new life.