Thursday, May 18, 2006

awe & immensity


It's so easy to let things fall out of your life. To get busy and forget simple, joyful, basic things like standing on a beach on a sunny day with cold waves washing over your feet, like doing a handstand, like camping, like traveling a new road, map in hand (maybe), not knowing what vista or village may be around the next bend. And then when you by chance DO those things again after years of not, it kind of scorches you. Memory, rediscovery, this surge through your nerves, this adrenalin. And also, regret for the neglect you have allowed to happen. Until today, I didn't even really realize it had been -- I'm ashamed to say -- years... let's say five years... since I had stood in the surf. I've stood on cliffs and looked out at the sea, but I haven't had my toes in the ocean in far, far too long. And I could kick myself for letting that happen.

Today Jim and I took his mama, who's visiting from California, to the Oregon coast. It was a perfect 70 degree day, sunny, breezy, and magnificent, and we spent the morning shopping and eating in charming Cannon Beach, then drove south just to see what was there. We came upon a little overlook for Arcadia Beach, a state park with a trail down to a cliff-cupped beach with sea stacks tumbled offshore, and we walked down to the water. Such a simple thing to do. But that feeling, I'm sure you all know it, and hopefully you haven't let yourself forget it like I have, that feeling of awe and immensity and gratitude and grace that sweeps over you standing at the ocean... it hit us like a wave and we were giddy as children. It WAS like a shot of adrenalin. It made me want to run and turn cartwheels and try gymnastics I haven't attempted in years. It made me GIDDY. It made me feel twelve, and energized, and enraptured. And ashamed. Of the way I let the months slip by without celebrating the world, and the sea, and my toes and fingers, and ferns and rivers, and driftwood and stars.

We had to turn around and head back to Portland, but Jim and I resolved to go again in no less than two weeks and explore further south, where there are fishing towns and antique stores and kayaking in an estuary. I've said it recently but I'll say it again, I'm NOT going to keep letting life slide by unnoticed. Yes, we have a lot of work to do, drawings to draw and books to write, but we also have a lot of world to see, trees to climb -- I want to climb a tree and sit in it and look out. I want to swing on a rope out over water and let go. I want to sit on a dock and dangle my feet. I want to eat taffy and shrimp and look for otters and killer whales. And there's no good reason on earth that we haven't been doing that all along, except that we just forgot somehow. But now that my toes remember the ocean, I hope they won't let me forget again anytime soon!

25 comments:

chest of drawers said...

Sometimes we get so caught up in daily life that we forget the adventure. You´ve motivated me to pack a bag and head off for the day tommorrow, without a plan, just to see what´s around the corners.

tinker said...

Living in the joy of the moment seems to be the theme for the day - here's to waves tickling our feet; birds soaring; otters and whales swimming; girls cartwheeling - to really being there - in the middle of this grand adventure!

Maggie said...

I LOVE Cannon Beach. I love the way the sand feels in your toes there--it's like no other sand I've found before or since. And the salt water taffy...heaven. I haven't been there since I was 16 but your post made me want to go straight back!

Kristy said...

Honestly? I'm pretty good at this. Getting lost in the beauty and wonder of the moment isn't hard for me. Hard for me is finding my way back once again. Because, you do have to come back...

Left-handed Trees... said...

"To get busy and forget simple, joyful, basic things like standing on a beach on a sunny day with cold waves washing over your feet, like doing a handstand, like camping..." I am leaving in a few short hours to commune with M. and a strand of trees--camping, yes...getting back in touch with the sounds of the woods and the endless green. Noticing everything--I so appreciated the chance to read along as you did the same...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this important reminder-- we're hoping to get to the Maine coast mid-June.

I'll do a cartwheel just for you!

~bluepoppy

deirdre said...

I'm so impressed with your handstand! I haven't been able to do that since, gosh, I don't even remember. How sad is that? I have a lump in my throat right now because you've made me think about how long it's been since I just played. Life gets so serious and then it's easy to forget that it doesn't have to be that way all the time.

Jennifer said...

Ok, you have made me want to jump in the car and head straight for the beach. I actually go pretty often. I just feel so alive there. So content.

megg said...

hi there -

I'm impressed you can do a handstand :) and also inspired! There is so much to DO. Sometimes I get frightened that I am forgetting to do things - thank you for letting me know that you will be someone who will remind me!! And I can't wait to come to your site and read about your experiences some more - enjoy that beach!!

Bohemian Girl said...

beautiful, touching post that i am sure so many of us resonate with.

and i must say...you ROCK at handstands, womyn!!

xoxoxo,
boho

Deb R said...

What a beautiful, thought-provoking post. And I love the photos! Those poppies...Wow! And I'm truly impressed by the handstand photo! I never COULD do one of those, even when I was younger, thinner, and more limber!

Amber said...

Ah, how true! You must do it. We all must do it!

I came across this quote the other day, and your words here made it come to mind right away--

"Let us give thanks for this beautiful day. Let us give thanks for this life. Let us give thanks for the water without which life would not be possible. Let us give thanks for Grandmother Earth who protects and nourishes us in our spirits."

:)

Alexandra S said...

Is that you or Nadia Kominichee (sp?)??? wow! Can you do one of those for five minutes for my birthday tomorrow? I will eat cupcakes while you walk from one end of the rose garden to the other on two hands! I love this post, btw. This entire country would be SO much better off if EVERYone could afford to vacation even a quarter as much as our President Bush does!

la vie en rose said...

yes, yes, yes! thank you for the reminder. *giddy* don't ya just love that word!!

and i'm so impressed with your handstand

andrea said...

My friend and I saddled up her dad's Jeep Cherokee and at the tender age of 17 explored that bit of coastline thoroughly. I bet it's changed! As for handstands I haven't done one for so long that I don't dare try, though I've been tempted at Pilates classes lately.

fern_leaf said...

LOL!! I could feel your joy in your post, and I'm so happy you got to have that experience. I love your writing. I know the feeling of "forgetting" the beauty all around you, but the feeling when you finally discover it again is so wonderful.

Marilyn said...

Boy, can I relate to this post. It's astonishing to me to think that I haven't felt my toes in the ocean in a whole year...this from the woman who used to walk barefoot in the surf at her neighborhood beach EVERY DAY. I must find other pleasures now that I can't see the ocean from the couch. So I've replaced surf-walking with bike riding...something I hadn't done in DECADES. It's all too easy to let the simple things that feed and nourish us fall off our "to do" list. Thanks for the reminder that we need to keep them ON there. :)

kelly rae said...

oh, so glad you went and put those little toes in the water! and i always, always do handstands when i'm on the beach! we spend a lot of time out at the coast, hiking, camping, eating, watching, john surfing, listening, writing, and i'd be happy to give you pointers on where to go - you MUST go to Oswald West State Park which is about 10 miles south of Cannan. and take the trail that leads to the beauiful beach in a cove, or Manzanita just a little further south from there - little town with galleries and the best caramel in world which you can buy in their old towny general store. i love our coast! yes, it's so important to keep the element of PLAY in our lives. john has taught me that and now it's hard for us to find the balance of having too much play!

Caroline said...

Wow - great handstand! I've not done one in years and I used to spend so much time upside down...

Hope you get to celebrate the world in everyway!

twistedsoda said...

loving that pose on the beach...now if only I could muster up the strength to do that! Love the way your write your words, I feel everything that you do. My heart smiles!

mab said...

your blog is simply lovely; your words capture the essence of your heart beautifully; I shall subscribe and return often. My brother lives in Portland; I want to someday, too.
Thanks for your visit to my blog; stop by again.
have a sunny day!
hugs,
mab

mab said...

hi Laini,
I had no idea you were the brain child of Sunday Scribblings. Would you please add me to the list of members? I posted a scribbling for today.
thank you so much!
hugs,
mab

Yolanda said...

Lani,
I would like you to add me to your list of participants for Sunday Scribblings.I have been doing them for about three weeks now.
I loved you most recent blog entry as that is how I feel about the ocean and your part of the world.See my blog .In large part I have never felt more at home and where I should be than in Oregon where we hope to be soon.

Anna said...

Such serendipity! The coast, the tumbling...
Yesterday I was at a rest stop in Ohio and I suddenly had the urge to cartwheel down the grassy hill in front of me. I didn't, but I thought about it. :)
(I don't have your e-mail address, but I hope you'll be able to have brunch on the 3rd!)

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