Ocean mountains

Summer, 1967. I drowsed in our Buick station wagon’s rear seat, one of my brothers on my left and the other brother sprawled in the “way back.”

My dad drove and Mom navigated beside him. They were acting weird.

“Oh, Peter, can you believe it?” Mom kept saying. “The trees. I’ve missed them so.”

Dad nodded.

Mom turned to us for the thousandth time. “Kids, do you see how tall they are? How many? Aren’t they magnificent?”

I agreed they looked interesting – the forest pressed close on either side of the narrow highway. Evergreens. I’d never beheld such a shadowing abundance. I craned my neck again, seeking their tiptops high in the sky.

Life experience having carried me through first grade, I couldn’t remember leaving the Midwest before this summer. Now my family vacationed in Washington State. Dad and Mom grew up in Oregon, and they’d longed to visit Northwestern regions. For them, the stately pines made up a welcoming committee of the finest order.

I shrugged my shoulders. The trees were okay.

“Just wait,” Mom said. “We’ll be at the beach pretty soon.”

She wished I could remember the ocean. But in the photograph that proved I’d been there, I sat wrapped in one of her hooded sweatshirts, a grin spread over my pudgy face, wind sculpting infant hair-whisps across my smile.

I noticed stubbier trees the nearer we came to a gray-ceilinged stretch of land. Dad parked the car. We stepped onto a surface that rolled beneath each footstep, sucking momentum. Climbing a short hill on our way toward the water involved work with leg muscles I rarely used. My tennis shoes filled. I reached my hand into the warm, dry rise where sand mounded, lifting and watching its colored specks trickle from my grasp.

“We’re here,” Dad said, tapping my shoulder.

The beach stretched wide. We stood far from the place where waves met shore. A breeze assailed, fishy, salty, chlorophylled. My feet met firmer sand, and a joyful sensation propelled me toward the strange expanse of water. I ran and hipped and hopped.

“You can take off your shoes,” Mom said.

I left footgear and stiffness behind, capering beside my brothers, noticing Mom and Dad holding hands as they strolled.

Finally I paused, closer to wet sand. I strained to see and couldn’t believe it.

Mountains. Way out there, huge peaks loomed. Yet they slowly transformed. They sank and recovered. I marveled a moment, then continued to play, sneaking peeks at the changeable ocean landscape before which I felt very small.

I’ll always remember the sense of awe invoked by those ocean mountains. Since that first day I haven’t experienced the Pacific in quite the same manner. It was an alien scene to me then, and now I know what I’m looking for prior to arriving. My nearsightedness is corrected now; back then I was a few months from receiving a first pair of sky-blue, cat’s eye glasses.

My initial view of mountains in the ocean can be explained. But the sensation, or a piece of it anyway, lingers every time I greet the thundering shore.


jodi said…
Your pictures are beautiful. The fourth from the bottom with the mountain in the background makes me just want to sit on a log. Thank you. :)
Deanna said…
Thanks, Jodi. I do love the beach. I've enjoyed lurking on your blog - maybe I should say hello there sometime!
travelin' nan said…
I'm glad to have had our own little ocean experience at Cape Lookout. I ran one of my first getting back into running runs with you, and our walk last year put my Keens to test. Thanks for reminding me of the ocean.
jodi said…
Deanna...everyone goes on the same trip, we just--like everyone else, see the journey from different povs. Maybe I'm just an amateur philosopher. It's good to get out there, and talk to friends. Welcome to our group. I hope you continue to drop by. Or lurk--it doesn't matter.

It was a pleasure meeting you.
patti said…
Thanks for the mother's day wishes, Deanna. I hope you had a wonderful day! I've been so busy lately with traveling, being sick, and dealing with issues with my mother-in-law that I haven't had much time for blog-visiting.
Deanna said…
Nan, those times at the beach meant a lot to me. I hope Cape Lookout survived the winter storms.

Jodi, same to you. Your tips about writing fiction help me as I attempt to put down true stories. I'll see you around. Philosophers rock!

Patti, I did have a very good day. Sorry you've had so much, I hope you're feeling better, and someday I may have time to post again (life's just full for many people now, I guess). Take care.
thebookbaglady said…
Thanks for the Mother's Day wishes! We had great little get away. This year Ten turned 'officially' ten ON Mother's Day. The year she was born, she was born the day after Mother's Day. :-)