|Learning to row; sisters and cousins|
When I was a kid, we spent summer vacations at Hunter Point, an enchanted beach near Olympia on Puget Sound: pristine sandy shores; views of forested islands, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympic mountain range; acres of woods to explore. From the moment we arrived to our tearful departure two weeks later, my sisters and I played on the beach or in the frigid water, swimming, rowing, water skiing. Beach fires in the evenings, fishing in the mornings, we lived by the rhythm of the tides.
|Hunter Point cabins|
Back home, after weeks of shaking out blankets and washing clothes, the sand and salt and wood smoke smell would finally disperse; but our memories of the beach remained indelible, never far from the surface.
So I was excited when my sister Nancy discovered a place on Orcas Island that had an ambience similar to Hunter Point: funky old cabins at a sandy beach’s edge, views of islands and expanses of water. Laurie and I planned our trip for months. I pored over old family photos and rummaged through memories of our many beach trips. I remembered collecting tiny shells and stones from the tideline, and digging clams and geoducks at low tide, the smell of beach fires, of early morning salt air. In retrospect, I wanted to relive those carefree times and foolishly dreamed that this trip would be all that.
Reality: when we finally arrive at North Beach after an arduous journey, I am in such pain I can hardly move for the first couple of days; I’ve had to walk a lot more than I’m used to and it takes a toll (new appreciation for the wheelchair!). Reality: the funky old cabin has no comfortable place to sit, and the couch is so low the view out the window is obstructed. Reality: the ground is rough and rocky and my scooter won’t go beyond the bit of grass that stops twenty feet from the beach; there is a tall berm so I can’t even see the beach-proper, let alone be on it. Reality: there is a burn ban and we can’t have a beach fire or even one in the fireplace; no wood smoke fragrance will follow us home.
Reality: I am crippled and getting older and cannot relive my childhood.
I want this trip to be more than a reminder of all I cannot do.This requires being in the moment, an acceptance of what is, and creating new ways of doing trips and vacations. And letting go of expectations. (The definition of expectations: planned disappointments.)
|Hunter Point: Dad teaches us to lay a beach fire|
(Thanks for sending the old photos, Nancy!)