Small Stone: Stones and Shells
I grew up in the Willamette Valley, just a few hours from the Oregon Coast. I spent many hours walking the long, flat, sandy beaches of Lincoln County, leaving a string of foot prints, listening to the waves, staring out at the water, and looking for treasures.
Now that I live in Colorado, I still make it back once a year by myself, and every other year, Eric and I take the dogs and rent a house in Waldport (“Where the Forest Meets the Sea”), usually staying for about a month–this will be one of those summers. Being at the ocean, that specific coastline and place, is medicine to me. I feel whole and at ease, closer to the Divine, at peace. Sadly, the climate (rainy, gray, cold) wears me down after too long, and I can’t live there, but must visit regularly, and I carry that place inside of me when I am away from it.
I have jars and bowls and piles, collections all over my house, of agates, rocks, and shells I’ve found over the years. When I was looking for a book this morning, I noticed a set of three lotus bowls filled with rocks, agates, two sandollars the size of dimes, and various broken, smooth bits of shells. They sit next to a picture of one of my favorite beaches, Cape Lookout. It’s further up the coast than we normally travel, a three mile hike through the forest that ends in a small, private curve of beach. If you hike the other way, up and out to the point instead of down, you can watch the migrating whales.
The memory of the beach, the ocean, the waves, the peace of that place, brings joy and stillness to me, even as my body stands in my living room in landlocked Colorado, with its blue skies, river, and mountains. The truth is, both places are home.