Being :: Oceanside

April 24, 2012

Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.

Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.


As a kid, I lived in the eastern part of Washington state, hours upon hours of car time away from any sort of ocean beaches.  Some of my fondest memories from those years are of the trips that we took out west to visit family, and of finding our way to tidepooling spots along Puget Sound, or to windy, sandy stretches of Oregon shore where sand dollars littered the beach in almost unimaginable numbers.

When I was eleven, my family moved to northern California, and proximity to the ocean’s edge improved a bit.  It was no longer an all day drive, instead we could be beachside in a couple of hours.  I spent my college years living in Berkeley, and it was during that time that I really discovered the good that the great outdoors can do for a girl’s soul.  I was such a funny combination of responsible student and goofy free spirit back then.  I often slept in a sleeping bag on the roof of my house, worked in the student garden in bare feet, and yes, jumped in the car and drove to the beach whenever the urge struck.  Sometimes, this was at midnight on a school night. As a now thirty-four year old mother of two, I certainly look back on that ability to approach things with such spontaneity with a bit of nostalgia, I must admit.  It was also during those years that the ocean took root in my being, and now, whenever we are too far from the ocean for too long, I start to feel somehow uneasy.

Living in Vermont now, we do have beaches.  But they are lake beaches, and though beautiful, they lack the aura of wildness that the ocean promises.  When we planned to spend the last two weeks of April on the west coast, it was for a couple of reasons.  First, I was missing my family and friends, and wanted them to meet the newest addition to our family.  But it was also because I wanted to put my feet in the ocean sands again, and because I wanted to my children to do the same.

We spent the first few days of our trip with family in Oregon, and while we were there we visited a couple of favorite beaches on the coast.  We picnicked, wandered aimlessly, built sandcastles that the ocean immediately reclaimed.

We discovered washed up jellyfish and rescued ladybugs that were inexplicably meandering around on the sand.

We have now arrived at the house in San Francisco where my husband grew up.  Here, the beaches that occupy the edges of the city appear somewhat less wild.  Instead of tiny creatures, the ocean washes tumbled bits of glass ashore, remnants of the debris that people send out to sea.  But this is also where the bay joins the ocean, and only twenty miles out, some of the largest sharks in the world can be found.  However much life in the city gives us the impression that people have somehow tamed nature, the water under that bridge says otherwise.

April is coming to a close, and so this will be Annie’s last post as a part of the Being series here on the blog.  However, as you may already know, she will be staying on here at Rhythm of the Home as a member of our staff.  You can also continue to follow along with Annie on her personal blog Bird and Little Bird.

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Dawn Suzette April 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

Beautiful post Annie. The beach has a special place in my heart as well. There really is nothing like the wild of that vast expanse brought right to your feet.
We have had that experience of ladybugs at the beach but only on the Pacific coast, not here in the East. Thanks for sparking the memory. Fun!
So happy you are having a good trip!

Traci April 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I love this post! I grew up in both western and eastern Washington and family trips to the Oregon Coast were a regular summer vacation for us. You are so right about the ocean being restful for the soul. I now live in Arizona and oh how I miss the ocean! We take many trips to Southern California just to reclaim that peace only the ocean surf can provide. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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