Friday, June 27, 2008

...and the winner was..

... Cannon Beach.

There was a slight delay in getting out of town - not unusual unless I can manage to turn off everything that beeps or buzzes or rings and get into my car and out of town before someone finds me. Yesterday I forgot the other rule: don't look through the mail; just bring it in the house, put it down, and go. I looked. And there was something needing pretty immediate attention which required getting ahold of someone else and probably two someones. And the must contact someone was busy, blah, blah, blah.

I did get out of town, finally, about 2:00. But Cannon Beach isn't that far; only about an hour and 40 minutes or so. I'm used to going to the mid-coast, where it does take two and a half to three hours.

The beach was beautiful. The temperature in the town was a little breezy and "cool" in summer terms - a light jacket was handy. But on the sand, it was warmer due to the reflecting sun off the beach and the wind was very mild. The water was perfect temperature to cool someone off and definitely not so cold to freeze the toes. Nice. The only thing I forgot was a hat, so I put a little sunscreen on my part - I wasn't going to be entering any beautiful hair contests, so a little dab of grease to prevent a sore scalp later was worth it.

I walked for two hours, along and in the water. After I returned to my car I drove a similar route from the public parking to the southern park where I turned around and it was almost two and a half miles one way; so I walked somewhere around five miles in the sand.

I picked up bits of conversation as I passed groups of people. Mostly I picked up mannerisms and observed human interactions. Who was family? Some obviously probably step-family. Who were the guests and who planned the trip? Tourists. Recent high school grads wanting to be cool. Younger kids trying boogie boards and trying to look cool like the bigger kids. Fitness fanatics. Walkers on a mission, like me. Lovers. Dogs and more dogs and packs of dogs.

A t-shirt washed up on the beach. Probably a medium brick or red when dry; looking like it had been soaked in wine as it lay in a wadded heap being rolled around by the surf.

The recent completion of a wedding, with the bride in white and the bridesmaids in aqua standing around. Most of the guests seem to have been gone. There were a few guys in suits or tuxes. But what was most interesting to me to look at were the now empty rows and rows of chairs; probably 8 rows of 20 chairs each with an aisle down the middle. Of course there was an aisle - what's a wedding without one! But I didn't really notice guests. And some workers/employees/?? dismantling a white lattice archway and another carrying away a giant vase of flowers which would never grown naturally in Oregon, let alone on the beach. It was kind of surreal and comical and ... something I can't yet describe.

I passed several volleyball nets standing, waiting for a game. But didn't see anyone playing. There were a couple of different types of rental beach vehicles. One time a mother and daughter were each riding in this thing that looks like one of those recumbent bikes (I think that's what they are - where you sit level with your legs out in front and pedal) but these had coverings reminiscent of a helicopter body. So the two of them were pedaling down the beach, kind of a friendly race or catch-me-if-you-can. They stopped. The daughter, probably about 12, gets out to stretch and dip her toes in the water. The mother tries to get out and can't. She struggles a bit. It's awkward. Her face turns red. She's laughing. She's laughing and trying to climb out and has to snake sideways and she's about halfway out and the little covered park starts to tip over on her. And she's laughing harder.

I kept walking. Looked back. She was standing and all looked fine. She and her daughter were laughing.

Walking back toward my car, there were surfers. I don't know if this is true or only what I imagine to me true, but it seemed that the experience of surfing on the Oregon coast must be different and, well, slower. I have never surfed. I think I have seen real surfers in California, but that was a really long time ago.

I watched a bit. One guy was up on his board and coming in on a wave and then, the wave just kind of lost power. He was standing fine, it seemed to me. He didn't fall. But the wave was carrying him (slower, like I said, it seemed the waves with surfers - standing or lying on their bellies - moved slower than the waves I've seen in movies from Hawaii or California). And then the wave which had risen up and he was on the crest just collapsed and he wasn't surfing any more. He was standing on his board and there was a little bump in the water and he went down. But is wasn't falling off the wave. The wave lost steam.

And I kept walking.

Passed another pack of dogs of all sizes. There was a little miniature something (I'm not a "dog person" so my knowledge of breeds has giant gaps) all the way up to a largish (I think) German Shepherd; six of them. And one guy with one of those dog ball throwing plastic things - so you don't have to get your hands slimy playing with your dog. I do remember that from when I was a kid. So this guy throws the ball; if it goes far, the little mini-dog just runs in circles around his feet until the big dogs come back, one of them with the prized neon yellow tennis ball in its mouth. If the guy does a little toss and the ball lands near, the mini-mutt will join in the chase. From down the beach I'd heard a dog barking and braying and it sounded like it had laryngitis. I noticed that one of the dogs in this pack with the tennis ball is a basset hound. Ah, I think; they really do sound like that. I forgot.

I get back to my car, water bottle empty and sand in the rolled up cuff of my pants. And I felt both tired and rejuvenated. It was a very good walk and a good day to go to the beach. And I feel like I picked up some more images to use in my writing.

And I feel lucky to live where I have the option of sand, hills, snow, or desert, all within a few hours ... or stay in the city.