By the Seaside…Oregon

The seaside of Seaside, Oregon

On our last trip to Portland, we headed northwest out of town on the 26 to what’s known as the Oregon North Coast Resort Area. One of the most popular beaches here, Seaside, is only about two miles long, but seems to stretch out forever. There’s plenty of room, so you can spread out a blanket, lay down and let go.

Within moral reason, of course.

We’d never heard of Seaside, we were just doing what we always do — going for a drive to see new stuff. We call it “l‘avventura,” in the spirit of a vacation to Italy where we got happily lost almost every day.

Truth be told, we were actually headed to Astoria, farther north, to go see a gallery there. Then out of nowhere, we hit garish clusters of hotels and one-step-above-fast-food joints, and traffic got heavy. Without really knowing where we were, we were suddenly smack amidst the American definition of somewhere.

It had been a rough work week for us both; we looked at each other, one eyebrow raised apiece, and kept driving.

Soon the hotels became inns, then bungalows, then motels. Restaurants became coffee stands. High rises became small houses. Traffic grew thinner.

This, we could deal with.

Up a scruffy side street was the Pacific Ocean. Pale blues to infinity, until we thought it must be a mirror trick. The endless water stretches flat, with nine, ten, eleven breaks straight back to the horizon. The breeze in late August was just a bit chilly, the sky leaning between glittery sun and a soft grey glow. We had our shoes off before we even reached the sand.

It took us five full minutes to walk to the shore, with purpose. The beach was so deep we could easily have made it ten minutes, but who can ever wait to put their feet in the ocean?  The wet sand was littered with sand dollars, mostly crushed, precious few whole. Adam and I had never seen a sand dollar on a California beach, or in Mexico, or even in the Bahamas; this felt exotic, like we’d wandered into some other country.

We put down our blanket and decided to stay awhile, drinking in the surf and quiet. There were a few people peppered along the shore: a guy flying a kite with a curly-haired little boy, a wiry white dog racing the water…and a family with nine kids.

Yeah, you read that right. In Seaside, Oregon, we saw a couple (our own age, by the way) with nine of their own children.

The mom, her hair in a loose ponytail and an infant at her hip, set out sandwiches from a massive cooler. Kid after kid, all blond and fair, gathered almost soundlessly for a head count and a circle of prayer. With heads bowed, they ate. When they finished, each child in turn dropped their paper plate and rushed back to the water. The parents never once looked at each other.

I felt Adam’s hand on my hand, saw him smile into my eyes. It would seem that we had arrived in another country — one that not only eased our stress, but also validated our choices in life.

For more of our photos from Seaside, click here.

Comments

  1. Daniel Fischer says:

    I’ve never been to Oregan, but your experience makes it a must. Of course, with the stock market crash we’ll have to walk across the country to get there!
    I hope you review some of your meals at what I can imagine are quaint country inn type restaurants.

  2. What a delightful contrast between a large family and a couple. I do hope the parents of the 9 children look at each other occasionally! Wonderful observations, Melanie. Thanks.

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