Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

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Now THIS is why I love the Oregon coast

As much as I rag on the Oregonian, writer Larry Bingham says something in it today that just makes me say "Word":

"It has beaches unlike those in a Corona ad. There are no weaving palms dropping coconuts onto a pillow of warm sand. On our beach, firs tower from rocky cliffs, trees as wide around as Jack's beanstalk, trees that could crush your entire family if they fell...

There are some among us who claim the beaches elsewhere are more hospitable. We think those people just can't appreciate the differences... Those people have never swum in the icy Pacific simply because they sat in stop-and-go traffic all the way from Elsie to Seaside late on a Friday afternoon in summer...

People who don't love our beach have yet to embrace the irony of wearing a hooded sweat shirt in August.

Our coast (yes, our: many of us are that possessive of it) is idiosyncratic, non-temperate, extreme in look and feel, moody, and (to some) an endurance test. But one of my best times swimming was braving the cold waters off Lincoln City the evenings in August 1990, my goosebumps like battle armor rising on my just-slightly rough flesh, getting bumped by wave after wave, secure in the belief that it probably was too cold for jellyfish. (I certainly never got stung. I got stung plenty off of Virginia Beach or Nags Head, North Carolina.)

My nephews had never swam in the ocean until they and their parents (and my parents, too; not me, I couldn't get away from work) visited Seaside in the summer of 2004. The coast was overcast and even colder that time. And they went nuts. They were possessed. They
and kept loving that ocean until they were (in their dad T.J.'s words) "little popsicles." The photos from that trip comprise the screen saver on my parents' computer. You'd love the smiles they're smiling while they're freezing.

They got it.

The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places, a place I feel especially comfortable, even when bundled up. It's dramatic and cinematic (you'd be surprised how many movies and car ads are shot along it), home to whales offshore and gnarled trees onshore, with iconic lighthouses like the one at Yaquina Head (the one in The Ring), at least two giant haystack-shaped rocks, and the scenery that left Lewis and Clark feeling relieved: yes, this was a place worth reaching, no matter what a slog the final stretch of their westbound trip had been.

The entry ends; the appreciation continues...

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