originally written october 2018 + posted here, now for the first time
The roar of the ocean rings in my ears + crashing waves seem to run through my veins. i have heard, seen + felt it’s pull from three different coastlines, one for each of the decades i have lived.
raised along the atlantic ocean, i know the murky waters of the south carolina lowcountry like a beloved family member. i know her quirks through the tidal marshlands + the waterways, but I also know she is forever evolving + adapting as she was designed to do. even now living a state away, the sand of her beaches is perpetually stuck inside my sandals + beach bags, the salty sea spray is still my favorite hair remedy + the sea breeze restores all my senses when we return to visit. sullivan’s island is where i first met (ate) the sand + splashed (tasted) the ocean as a small child + where i was kissed by the sun right on to adulthood. early morning barefoot walks spent waking up, coffee in hand, were largely responsible for the first of many day dates spent getting to know my beau, now husband + his sweet, spirited rescue pup. it was the one place i innately knew i would one day take my babies to play + explore as often as possible, to collect shells in our hands + sand between our toes as i would of course pass on the love of this magical setting + its charms.
the mediterranean sea is where i began my happily ever after, honeymooning as a young newlywed. the first sight of the teal waters from the ligurian train had my heart racing—another coastline to explore! the water where we dipped our toes was chilly + the beach covered with dark, oblong, slender pebbles seemed so cold compared to the soft, warm sun-bleached granules of sand i knew from home. the unfamiliar setting was an introduction to the great wide world i had only just begun to discover. in visiting new places, i often come to realize who + why we are, as we gain better understanding of the places from which we have come + ultimately that we are all connected. the cinque terre is a time-worn beauty wearing a painted face; her bright, albeit layered + chipping colors coupled with the apparent, time-honored culture there help tell this gem’s unique story set in the stunning beauty of her jagged coastline + surprisingly it is not so different than where i have journeyed from.
it was the pacific though, that somehow seemed to fill a previously unknown, unspoken void in me. to this day, when i hold the perfectly weighted, palm-sized, smooth, round stone i carried home from the sunset on the left coast, a part of me feels whole + connected to that stretch of shoreline. it gives me the undeniable sensation that i will return to ruby beach, maybe just to see the sunset over the water once again, perhaps we’ll run through her surf hand in hand with the kids or take a minute to remember the people we were the last time we were there + pause as we measure how we’ve changed. perhaps i will visit it far many more times than i could possibly fathom from where i sit now. newlywed + twenty-something, i wanted to see the sun set over the ocean before i turned 30 + the almost-honeymoon-trip-turned-first-aniversary-trip to seattle with my forever beau exceeded our every expectation in leaps + bounds— we have been talking about washington state incessantly since we left. we regularly pine “seattle is calling” anytime the skies are gray outside, or whenever the air feels crisp + clean.
the truth is, i don’t know if we will ever return to -the PNW- as we often dream. what i do know is this: a part of me remains there, even if only in spirit. the pacific northwest is a region of this country that perhaps only some have seen or wanted to. those who haven’t been can’t seem to fully understand, but the evergreen beauty of this area is unmatched in rich, untouched beauty, culture + ambiance, + more unique than any others I have yet seen. it is abundantly populated with cedars, firs + other towering native trees complimented by ferns carpeting the forest floor, all delighting sight, scent + touch. there is so much still waiting for this east coast southern girl to explore + as long as i have breath, i will daydream about getting to know the pacific northwest even better.
the ocean still roars there—ah, yes + mightily so.
i hope to one day return even if just to exchange another passing “hello”.