Today we met some friends for a picnic lunch at a nearby beach. I spoke to my mom as I scurried about looking for bathing suits and towels and she expressed surprise that there was a beach within 10 minutes from our house. Yes, there is more to Washington than coffee and Microsoft.
Washington also has lots and lots of coastline, not to mention the many lakes and rivers dotting the landscape. After all, the rain has to go somewhere. The snow stays mostly on the mountains (where it belongs) but the water is plentiful. Washington has 342 miles of marine coastline from Cape Flattery (northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula) to the Columbia River (border of Oregon and Washington), including the longest remaining stretch of wild beach in the Lower 48.
All of this is not including the extensive inland coastlines of the Puget Sound (an inlet of the North Pacific Ocean) and the Hood Canal (a fjord off Puget Sound). It was in one of these beaches that we found ourselves today. When I say “we” I mean all the children and none of the mothers. The grown ups were very busy soaking up the sun and staying OUT of the water.
Now we may be abounding in wonderful beach fronts but rarely do you find any sand, except on the Pacific coast. Washington “grows” too many rocks for the sand to establish any kind of dominance. The rocks and barnacles and gravel and cobblestones pretty much cover the ground.
What IS this green stuff? And what are all these rocks doing here, I thought you said this was a BEACH.
We tried to direct Sarah to a sandy spot with little seaweed. She wasn’t sure.
For some reason, no doubt the sunshine after a solid week of rain befuddled my mind, I didn’t have the children pack their suits and towels.
“Aren’t we going to the beach, Mommy?” they asked.
“Yes, but we’re not actually going to swim,” I told them patronizingly. The questions these children ask some times, I tell you, it’s enough to make a mother wonder.
When we arrived at the beach (remember this is a beach AND a park), Michelle’s kids hopped out of the car dressed in bathing suits, carrying towels and floats.
“Um, I didn’t know the kids needed suits,” I said to Michelle, half accusatorily. “I thought we were going the park.”
“Kathy, this is the beach. Right?” Michelle looked incredulous but tried to do her best to hide it. She almost succeeded.
“Yes, but I didn’t think they were actually going to swim in it. I was thinking, you know, wading.”
Michelle looked from her children to my children, obviously calculating the odds that my kids would stick to “just wading” while hers plunged in. It didn’t look good.
Great bathing suits, guys, good idea!
Thankfully Heather, another friend meeting us at the BEACH, wasn’t expected for another 30 or 45 minutes. I sent Joshua off with the cooler and the younger children, gave Michelle my parking spot (for which we had already paid) and rushed home.
Which is how I had time to chat with my mom while scurrying about looking for suits. See that nice, tidy full circle there?
A boy among giants, well giant pillars anyway.
Rachel said the tide came in and, by the time we left, the water was almost to the top of the posts. I wish I had taken another picture. Of course, this time Eli would have been floating. I’m sure he would have been willing to sacrifice his personal safety for a picture for the blog. He just gives and gives, that Eli.
We ate lunch on the grass. The boys played frisbee and the girls enjoyed the hot sand by the volleyball court. At one point Joshua took all the children (there were 10, including himself) off to the playground. Heather, Michelle and I stayed back and conscientiously guarded the food and swim things. It was an important job and we were willing to make the sacrifice.
This spot was a little too sunny for Joshua, he ate at a picnic table in the shade.
Basically the children went back and forth between the cold water (searching for jellyfish, dodging rocks, and bravely ducking their bodies in the Sound) to the hot sand or hot sidewalk. At one point the girls were laying on their stomachs in the sand, heads together, talking away and the boys were on the sidewalk studying a group of scuba divers as they prepared to get in the water. Early on I put my camera away in favor of fun conversation with the ladies and so I didn’t capture some of those sweet moments. I’ve almost convinced myself that I don’t mind.
After lunch Tim graciously came by and rescued Joshua. The final party of picnickers (you know, the ones with the boy Joshua’s age) couldn’t make it, at the last minute. This meant Joshua was without a friend his age the entire time. He enjoys the younger kids but reaches his limit usually much before I’m ready to leave. To add insult to injury, this wonderful BEACH I provided was full of salt water. Joshua does not really do salt water, basically oceans are not his thing. If we go down to the coast, I hope he will reconsider, but for now we allow him to keep his prejudices.
I knew that I could either 1) have mercy on Joshua and pack everyone up to go home early; 2) relentlessly ignore his sad/bored face and assure myself that he has a book and would be fine; 3) beg Tim to drive over and take Joshua home.
Tolkien and a Civil War canteen, really what more do you need?
Thank you for picking up Joshua, Tim!
A wonderful day of sunshine, water and good conversation. Holly, we missed you!!!!
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. (Revelation 1:1-2a)
Our hearts long to enjoy the river of life that is described in Revelation, but for now we’ll settle for some of the beautiful places the Lord has created here.
Project 365 – Day 208