I crane my neck, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. Turn after turn in the road, I hope this one will reveal the never-ending expanse of water. When the ocean is finally in sight, the deep blue color, the white-tipped waves, and the cool, salty breeze take my breath away, no matter how many times I have seen it before.
Ever since I was old enough to walk, my parents have taken me and my siblings to the Oregon coast. Our grandparents’ own a time share in the small beach town of Cannon Beach. As a teenager, the quaint and fairly quiet streets of downtown, along with the open stretches of sand, create my own little sanctuary from the demands of everyday life, and bring back memories of the time when I was once a little girl.
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The small store Gepetto’s holds everything from handmade wooden trains to mass market Barbies. Walking in takes me back to when I was six years old, excited about the plastic horses, or the bracelet-making kits, or even the little bags of different shells; I just wanted to buy everything there. As I browse the shelves of the tiny shop, I can remember, and sometimes find, the toys from my childhood; for just a moment, I see that I am still the same carefree, enthusiastic kid I was back then.
The feeling persists as I visit each of the shops I remember so clearly from years past: the pancake house, the beach-themed gift shop, the store packed with millions of beads. The ice cream parlor still makes my favorite flavor, mint chocolate chip. The shop where we bought our first kite still sits in the barn-shaped building. I still go to Bruce’s Candy Kitchen to smell the sweet candy scent and watch Bruce make his fresh saltwater taffy.
Past the streets of downtown and up a hill lies Breakers Point, the complex where my grandparents’ condo stands. I remember splashing in the pool here with my aunts, uncles, and cousins at family reunions, racing my sisters down the street to be the first one in the shower, and laying sand dollars out on the deck to dry. Before the tide comes in, before the sun peeks over the horizon, we often go out to the beach to walk between the rocks that separate Cannon Beach from another stretch of sand. Tide pools teeming with starfish, crabs, and small fish make the walk well worth the lack of sleep. I can still remember holding my first starfish before gingerly placing it back into his home.
I spent hours running along, climbing up, and playing in the sand. After walking along the wooden bridge from the asphalt driveway of Breakers Point into the soft grainy sand, I would often race my siblings down the long hill onto the beach below. I am convinced there is no softer sand anywhere on the planet than the sand on that hill. I love lounging on a blanket and letting the grains run through my fingertips as I hear waves crashing far out in the ocean. I still build the occasional sand castle and draw pictures in the wet sand near the water. I jump each wave that reaches the shore with my family.
I watch the sun slide into the water and spray the sky with shades of rose, crimson, and gold; a perfect end to a day in my own little piece of heaven.
Cannon Beach site: http://www.cannonbeach.org/
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