“…the sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever.” (Jacques-Yves Cousteau)
Yesterday, I went on a pilgrimage of sorts. A friend and I drove out to Point Reyes National Seashore to visit the ocean.
This wonderful gift of nature is located about 30 miles north of San Francisco along California’s exquisite Highway 1.
But once you drive off of the main highway, it doesn’t really matter where you are, geographically speaking, because you find yourself in a unique and magical world all its own.
I was raised in Southern California and going to the beach every summer for picnics and paddling along the waves on boogie boards was a regular part of life.
So saltwater kinda runs through my veins and sea breezes are never too cold for me.
I had waited way too long for a return visit this time…I’d been kinda stuck in my routine of cats, writing, walking and what seems like endless transitioning.
So when I was invited to head out onto the open road for a day trip to visit the ocean, it took me only seconds to hit the reply key and type Yes! in response to the e-mail.
I have always had a strong sense of “place.” The old saying is “Home is where the heart is” and part of my heart has always been at the seashore no matter where I’ve lived.
So yesterday was a “going home” of sorts even though I had actually never been to this particular part of the west coast.
The closer we drove to the ocean, the greener became the trees and shrubberies that covered the typically-California rolling hills. The air turned chilly and we could see a few clouds in the blue sky.
And when we finally parked and got out and walked across the sand to the shoreline, it was downright cold and damp, the only way that cold-and-damp can be in a town by the sea.
I stood there watching the waves roll in and out, listening to the amazing sound that only waves can make. And it was like a grand reunion of two dear old friends. Well, actually, make that three friends — my buddy was born and raised in SoCal also and so he knows whereof I speak.
Hunger drove us inland for lunch and even though we couldn’t see the ocean from the little town, it was comforting just knowing that it was so close by, only a matter of minutes away.
After food, we walked around the nature preserve and breathed deeply, as if we could take some of that salty, crisp air back with us.
We stopped at a small bookshop and wandered in to browse. There is nothing like the combination of books and the sea to lighten the spirit!
When we were ready to head home in the late afternoon, the fog was beginning to roll in and a drizzly rain was falling. We took it all in and then off we drove to return to the flat, dry valley.
For a few hours we had been home. And afterwards, we knew more strongly than ever that our friend the ocean would always be eagerly waiting for us to visit again and again.
©July 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver