Spent the last few days on the Oregon coast, visiting my old friends--the rocks.
My favorite beach is always nearly deserted, which is only part of the reason it's my favorite, though a significant part. It's near a more popular beach with many attractions--volleyball, four-person surrey bikes, salt water taffy, ice cream, horseback rides, kite shops, Christian bookstores, pancake houses, jewelry stores, seafood restaurants.
There is nothing to buy or rent or ride on my beach, so perhaps nothing worthwhile to do, in the sense of commerce and human exchange. High tide at my beach seems to push away most visitors, leaving a half-mile or so of quiet sand.
The birds here are busy--the pelicans and oystercatchers and golden eagles--but much of the other action here is difficult to distinguish from inaction, so small and slow.
I'm never busy at the beach. I poke around the rocks, sip good beer, eat potato chips, poke around the rocks some more, stare at waves, waves, waves. My eyes turn bloodshot from the salty air. I explore the individual worlds of bowl-sized tide pools. Sea anemones smaller than quarters. Nubs of barnacles licking the surf with feathery limbs. Occasional snail.
In the evening, Cris and I switch to another beach to watch the sun disappear behind incoming clouds and drink some wine and search the tide pools at low tide. A beach with families and campfires and surfers, though we find a place away from the crowd occupied mostly by couples and photographers and kids looking for crabs. There, I catch sight of the far off parking lot and, descending onto the beach, a cluster of shapes in turquoise, a hue that can only mean bridesmaids. Sure enough, a white puff follows, hoisting her dress up to her knees, along with grey-clad groomsmen and a black-suited groom. They arrange themselves on a stretch of wet sand for the photographer, a shot that will make them appear as though they are perched on the surface of the sea. The ruffled layers of chiffon on the bride's dress soak up the sand. Shot taken, the photographer hustles them along towards our spot on the beach. The incoming clouds look as though they might rain, so we pack up and head to our car, passing by the patch of wet sand where the group posed, now littered with rose petals, orchids, ribbons, cellophane, the discarded bouquets in plastic holders. Behind us, by the tide pools, bridesmaids drape themselves over the rocks.