It's a ritual. Every winter my husband and I spend two weeks at the same spot on the central Oregon coast. We go to breathe.
Breathing is different here — cleaner, deeper, more resolute — just different.
We nest in an oceanfront condo near Nye Beach. Always the same unit, reserved a year in advance. Our frontyard is a wide expanse of sandy beach that stretches a mile or so north to Yaquina Head — and maybe six miles south to the rock jetty at the entrance to Newport Harbor. The view from recliners in our condo is among the indelible images we take home — souvenirs of the mind to see us through less tranquil times.
Our days are deliciously simple. At low tide, we walk the beach, drinking in great gulps of salty sea air, allowing the raw rumble of resurgent waves to sponge the stress from our souls. We collect perfect seashells and tiny amber agates. When we turn around, we relish that ours are usually the only imprints in the sand.
At high tide, we scavenge art galleries and used-book stores for treasures. We visit the Newport Embarcadero, a working fishing harbor with a split personality: Seafood processing plants operate beside trendy restaurants and shops. It's where we go to share fresh Dungeness crab, steamed on the spot, ready to crack open on yesterday's newspaper spread over a picnic table — or cedar-planked wild salmon served with a glass of Oregon Pinot on a starched white tablecloth.
Grumpy weather is an excuse to stay in and snuggle by the fireplace, enjoying each other — or one of the books we've stockpiled for vacation reading. But sometimes we just savor nature's show: rain so hard it flattens the ocean surface, so furious its clatter drowns the sound of the surf. In the glow of our deck light, we watch rain dance with the wind, moving sideways, in circles, even straight up sometimes.
It's another souvenir to take home.