Friday, June 27, 2008


Last week Celeste and I went to Cannon Beach for an afternoon to meet the Pacific ocean. The first half of the day there were fog and clouds, with a fine slanty rain coming down intermittently. Don't get me wrong: it would have been beautiful to me no matter what the weather.

We grew up on the peninsula Cape Cod in Massachusetts, surrounded by the Atlantic. Not that we had a house by the ocean, or that our parents had a boat, or any of those other stereotypical things people consider when you say "I grew up on the Cape" (no, I've never been to the Kennedy compound. Thornton Burgess was more our speed). Myself, I didn't really leave the Cape much until going to college in Boston, so was cradled in that land of cottages, buoys, ice cream, summer people and beach glass for quite a while. I remember being really surprised by the city even though Boston felt familiar as the backyard, and those feelings of wonder discovering the non-Cape Cod world are still strong 12 years later. At the best of times, at least.

So, it just was a matter of course that my sister and I would head to the coast. I think the rolling waves, breathing in the salty air, surrounded by small stunted trees and small boxy beach houses, these things are how we measure our experience of awe and appreciation of the world. Maybe it isn't even an experience I can qualify like that, exactly, but the point when I put my feet down here, restlessness rested. For an afternoon, just to fill my senses with this basic language of home, with introductions to the remarkable west coast differences, this was simple, as simple as satisfying.

(Celeste and I enjoy the inevitable ice cream cup and sundae, respectively. It's hard to smile right with your mouth full of chocolate fudge, but here is a good effort!)

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