As a kid I loved the beach – not just any beach, but our beach, the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. My parents were both born and raised in that area so we spent many weekends there visiting relatives while I was growing up and then, the summer before I entered high school, my parents moved us back there so that I could attend the small local high school while they prepared for retirement. In many ways, the beach itself had a terrific impact on helping me negotiate my high school years. I walked on the beach when I needed to think; I sat on a piece of driftwood and wrote when I needed to be creative and I screamed and cried into the ever-present wind when I was upset. After leaving the peninsula for college, we went back mainly to visit family, but our trips became less and less frequent. Over the years our tastes turned more toward the dry warmth of Central Oregon’s high desert rather than the damp cold of Washington’s Coast. After my mother-in-law’s death last year, my husband really didn’t want to go back to the Peninsula – too many memories, too much dampness, too much rot.
Last week I had some business that I needed to take care of in Long Beach so I asked my husband if he’d please accompany me there for the day. The weather that day turned out to be unseasonably warm and sunny for mid-March. We had a lovely drive down, quickly took care of the business and then headed out to find someplace to have lunch. We settled on an inn that has been there for more than one hundred years. The restaurant was closed for refurbishing, but the pub was open and we were the first to venture out onto their small garden deck. We ended up relishing a lovely lunch while sitting in the sunshine, sipping beer and wine and talking – for two hours! When we finally left we headed to the beach for a little walk that lasted for 1-1/2 hours!
The two hour lunch had been wonderful, but the walk on the beach was just what I needed. As we walked, hand-in-hand, me carrying my shoes, we talked, laughed, reminisced and I remembered why I love the beach. As I look out to the horizon, I gain perspective as I realize the immensity of the earth. As I watch the waves roll in, roll in, roll in – never stopping, I feel the possibilities of all that can be done. As the wind blows and the ocean roars, my worries are carried away and I feel peace. A simple walk that gives me perspective, helps me see the possibilities and brings me peace – beach therapy!