Monday, August 18, 2014

the dunes

If you could live by the ocean or the mountains, which would you choose? This is the dreaming game we played as we drove home through Wyoming, then South Dakota and further into the midwest, leaving both the mountains and the ocean farther and farther behind.  It isn't surprising that I couldn't choose, is it? 

We spent two nights between Seattle and the family wedding in Corvallis, Oregon, at Nehalem Bay State Park, which was full of sand dunes and miles of beach.

Ani couldn't remember the ocean, and Eliza ran straight for it.  I think she chose ocean - playful, insistent, mesmerizing ocean.

I love how the beach was totally different every time we crested the dunes to look down at the water. Rippled, smooth, lit by the setting sun or misty with evening fog, it was beautiful.

Reading Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men and drawing
The campground was packed - we got the last site the nights we were there - but our neighbors were friendly and Ani found a quiet spot to perch in for some down-time.

Do those look like discarded tissues or plastic bags in the photo above?  I think they are velella, a jellyfish that lives in the open ocean and sometimes washes ashore to decay, leaving behind these cellophane sails and not much body.  (Apparently while living they are a deep purple, but these looked as though they'd been in the process of decay for a long time and were more like bleached bones.)

Eliza gave me permission to share part of a poem she wrote on a solitary trip to the dunes.  Her inspiration came in an email from our friend and her writing teacher, Wendy, who suggested writing observations that played with the senses.

Fire smoke, the color of pine tree bark, blowing my direction.  
Unblemished sand, now and then scarred with footprints.  
The sound of wind through dune grass is salty.  
Flowers in the dunes are coins, peeking out of pockets that are the grass and sand.  
The flying kite, a cupcake in the sky.

Dan waffled a bit too before choosing mountains, and looking at these photos he is reassessing his choice.  Maybe that's why we lived for so long in Seattle, settling for the in-between, the view of mountains and the smell of the ocean.

1 comment:

merry said...

No question, I'd choose the ocean.I find the sea breezes healing and I love to allow my breathing to match the sounds of the surf. However, Seattle is the best of both worlds - the healing ocean and the sight of beautiful mountains. Or better still, San Juan Island!! Yeahhhhhh.