Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beach Reflections

I've never been a big fan of beach vacations. Sure, we had the trips to Myrtle Beach when I was a kid. There was one year we went camping near Virginia Beach, and I remember it being so hot that none of us were able to sleep. So my dad rounded us up and drove us to the beach in the middle of the night, where we wandered along the shore near all the brightly lit resorts, basking in the cool breezes. We were the only people there. That was pretty cool.

Since adulthood, I have never really placed beaches high on my vacation wishlist. I'm not one of those people who could spend hours lounging in the sun. I like active vacations. I like to DO things. I love to explore. If a few hours at a beach is part of that, fine, but I don't like vacations in which beaches are the focal point.

That being said, the beaches here are starting to change my mind.

These aren't the beaches you normally think about, with miles of sand stretching along the coast. Puget Sound beaches are rocky and covered in driftwood. You see people beachcombing for geoducks or shells more than you see sunbathers. Most of the beaches have breathtaking views, either of the Seattle skyline (Alki Beach) or the distant Olympic Peninsula with its snow-capped peaks. Some beaches seem quieter and more secluded than others, but all of them are wildly alive with an abundance of unique animal and plant life. If you're lucky, you'll even see a whale. I haven't been that fortunate yet.

I feel at peace when I'm visiting a beach here. For me, they are places for contemplation and quiet reflection. They remind me that the world is so much bigger than myself. Now, when I feel the need to escape, but I can't really leave town, I head to a beach. I'm feeling a longing to go to one right now. But I'll wait until Friday morning, when I drop off the dogs at day camp and I can be alone with my thoughts.

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