I always find that the minute you go into a vacation with preconceived notions, they tend to rule your entire vacation, and limit your ability to really delve into something unique and personal.
Early this summer, my parents had prepped my sister and I for a beach vacation. We packed our suitcases full of shorts, t-shirts, and sandals and set off for the Northwest Coast. Unlike most people in the world, I am not the fondest of beaches, or rather the environment surrounding them. I don’t really care for the pounding sun, inevitable sun burns, or the generally disruptive and obnoxious people they seem to attract in the masses. I was also reluctant as to how much fun this vacation would be, with us staying at the same beach for a full week, away from any city, it made me wary of imminent boredom. All this coupled with my fear of being stung by a jellyfish or developing a rash from seaweed (which had happened before) kept me from being super pumped for this vacation.
So with those notions over my head, there was a part of me that was dreading this vacation. However, when we actually arrived, I kept kicking myself for feeling so much anxiety and trepidation over something that I had completely not given a chance. Long Beach, Washington was the epitome of all the things that you would expect a beach to NOT be. It was cold, the sand was white, there was virtually no one around (I think at most there was probably four other families at once), no seaweed, and virtually no litter. Needless, to say I immediately fell in love with it.
The beauty was truly astounding. The water was endless and meditative with its constant continuation of waves pushing and pulling in rhythmic patterns. At times there was no visible separation between the sky and the sea. There were cliff faces that had tall, proud trees growing on them and angry unrelenting storms of waves that repeatedly crashed against their bottom, sending out spurts of water, with such resounding sound. Everywhere around us were showcases of the effortless magnificence of nature. Directly opposite the ocean, the sand dunes piled high forming a wall from which short, almost-shrub like plant life grew in abundance. It was the garden of all beaches.
Getting away from the beach, the landscape was just so lush, there were trees everywhere; seen manifested through pine trees of enormous height lining the road, easily possessing the land and claiming that nature ruled here. There were open fields of wildflowers, in every color, quaint cottages, also seen in every color, and lakes, streams, and mountains. At one point we were driving down a single, straight path of road that extended onward for several miles, making up most of our drive from Portland, Oregon to Ocean Park, Washington.
We ended each day the same. Our hotel was situated facing the beach and every night my family and I would watch the sunset. Seeing those colors, slowly sink completely unobstructed, was something that I’d never experienced before in my life.
It’s amazing what little treasures our hidden from us, who live in the city, where the only sunsets we see are blocked by buildings, and smog, and the only nature we see is what we plant ourselves. Seeing a full sunset, and real unrestrained nature made me understand that no matter how life moves, there is a place beyond the city lights that will always be waiting there without the glamour and hype. It doesn’t need it.
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