So what is it about the coast that is so magical for me? And pardon the use of the word "magical" but I actually mean it, in its really-truly meaning: its effect on me is greater than the sum of its parts, and in fact, greater than it ought to be, looked at dispassionately. But that word right there! "Dispassionately." I wouldn't say that I feel passion for the coast, because the feeling that word carries is one of strength, heat, power, whereas my feeling is fairly light and cool and floaty. But it is love, and love and passion are sort of synonymous in a sideways kind of way. So dispassionately is the wrong way to look at it.
Is it just the ocean? The water? The waves? The constancy of them all?
Pause while I ponder. I've just been watching a show about the Hamptons, and another one set in Miami. And in case we forget where we are, they keep showing us people in the sun, on the sand, wearing tiny bikinis and huge sunglasses, walking on the baking beach, with golden sunlight glaring off them. That has NO appeal for me. Obviously it does for other people, cuz the shows producers are using those images, and I'm sure they spent millions market-testing them. So it isn't "beach" that I love, nor "ocean." It's the Oregon coast. It's grey skies, or possibly pale blue skies but with a wind that has a bite to it, under the golden-but-not-hot-sun. It's cold water and many shades of grey on my morning walk, along a deserted mile of sand, with pure white foamrushing in and out. It's also the beauty of all the flower beds and the riotous blossoms everywhere, even during the winter, and all the self-conciously quaint cedar shake houses arranged around the real family vacation homes (fewer and fewer every year). It's the quiet of the winter morning, when I can walk down the coast and back through town and not see a single person. Not one! And that smell, that salty, evocative, far-away-ish smell, that you only get every so often, and immediately makes the whole place seem like a pirate adventure. Or at least a sailing ship adventure, if no pirates!
And it's the fact that my parents live there, and I was living with them. Which IMMEDIATELY removed me from responsibility. Oh, I mean I still had to behave myself -- I still had to be good. Couldn't lie around and not work, couldn't drink, or break laws or anything. But I changed at once from being The Mom -- responsible for all -- to being The Daughter. Responsible ONLY for herself. Hmm, as I typed those words, I heard a faint echo in my head of another journal entry, many, many years ago, in which I was complaining bitterly about having to live with my parents between school terms, and how I went from being a person, a somebody, to being a nobody, "just a daughter." Ha! How one's perceptions of life change!