Early in September I took a day trip to Cannon Beach. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet, mainly due to the amazingly soft sand and the fact that you can literally walk half the day away if you want to. Also, there’s Haystack Rock, to which I have an unnatural attachment. At least, anyone looking at any of my photo albums for the past twenty years could easily reach this conclusion. The picture at the top of this post wasn’t taken this year, because I forgot my camera. I was on Highway 101 before I realized this, so turning around to get it wasn’t an option. Turns out, forgetting my camera was a good move.
Over the years a ritual has evolved for my solo day trips to Cannon Beach – which, btw, is my favorite way to go there. One component is Second Breakfast at the Pig N Pancake. Instead of lamenting my lack of camera or reading on my nook I decided to substitute words for pictures. I sat in a booth for about an hour as I drank terribly bitter coffee and ate enough to choke a Hobbit, and basically wrote an essay in longhand. Part of that is here, now, but most of it’s not.
After Second Breakfast I did a little shopping between there and the nearest access point, and then hit the beach. It was a mild day, by which I mean the sun wasn’t beating down trying to fry the skin from my bones (which, admittedly, probably wouldn’t take much). It looked something like this.
As soon as I reached the packed sand that’s so wonderful for taking epic walks on, I started hearing a new voice in my head. I walked and listened for a while, and then I sat down and started to write. A wonderful new guy named Neil told me his story of heartbreak at the loss of his long-term partner, and the sea change he experienced during a solo trip to the beach. I don’t think I’d ever used the word before, either in conversation or in fiction, so when it came out of my purple pen while I sat on the beach with sand trickling into my shorts I got really excited. My best stories come from strong characters who just pop up and start talking, the ones whose stories seem to take on a life of their own.
Anyway, back to the word. Neil experiences a sea change in his attitude toward life, love, sex, and himself, which is appropriate, considering where he was at the time. Now I have another HEA to polish, and another reason to love that rock.
1. a striking change, as in appearance, often for the better.
2. any major transformation or alteration.
3. a transformation brought about by the sea.
Origin: Shakespeare, in Ariel’s song “Full Fathom Five” in The Tempest (1611)