I'd taken a long weekend in Portland, but I couldn't kick free of my depression. All the usual remedies, the coffees and panini and okay-twist-my-arm shoe shopping, weren't doing it, and Saturday night I slumped in my room, despondent and already past vacation midpoint. In 36 hours I had to turn around and go back, pick up the threads of my stagnant life, work and commute and cleaning the bathroom, and I felt like I'd accomplished nothing.
I was skeptical. The ocean seemed like an epic journey, growing up--so distant, an entire vacation plan in itself, the Oregon coast even farther afield than the gritty little sibling towns of Moclips and Pacific Beach we'd visit in Washington. It occurred to me, en route, that it had surely been nearly 30 years since I'd seen Haystack Rock, and probably 15 or more since I'd even been to the coast in my own state. With my Grammy, when she was still alive.
But it was a mere 90 minutes from Portland. And once there, I was astounded at how I'd ignored or forgotten or not taken advantage of it, this fucking extraordinary place, this natural marvel I am so, so lucky to be a few hours' drive from. The roaring surf, the limitless horizon. The salt-sticky wind in your hair. That amazing smell.
We sat in the sun on stripey towels and ate brie and bread and drank blood-orange San Pellegrino. We waded in the light-glittered water, which was cold for an instant and then perfect. We drove on a little further, down to Manzanita, and poked through shops and bought a shit-ton of saltwater taffy and olde-tyme penny candy, and gave ourselves diabetes on the way home. We grilled simple hamburgers on the deck and ate outside and took Pumpkin the hound for a walk in the sweet, balmy dusk, and it turned out to be the best day I've had in a long, long time. The day I so desperately needed. I am so, so grateful. Thank you for that again, Michelle, my friend.