Rivers and Oceans

This weekend, my roommate and I headed to Santa Cruz to soak up the ocean air and put our toes in the sand. The beach was my favorite place to think about the things that I’m grateful for in my life. When we arrived, we went straight down to the beach and bypassed all the activities on the Boardwalk. We kicked off our shoes, plopped down in the sand, and stared out over the small waves that broke a few feet away. The day was overcast and the breeze was brisk, but it was perfect. I didn’t realize how much I missed living close to the ocean until that moment.

We sat in comfortable silence, enjoying the moment together as friends, and watched the sea life play in the ocean. About fifty feet from the breaking waves, seals and sea lions dove for fish, dolphins jumped out of the water, and seagulls dive bombed anything swimming beneath the surface. See why I write about the Peninsula? It was the ideal atmosphere to reflect on the mistakes I’ve made, what I’ve accomplished over the last few years, and the plans for the future.

One thing I realized was that I feel the most at peace when I’m by the water. The ocean was once my favorite, but there was a time when the forests and rivers were my sanctuary. It was a time long before I lived on the Monterey Peninsula, but it had such a strong impact on my life that it will always be a part of me. Thankfully, I’ve moved to a place similar to my upbringing, where several rivers meet, and I enjoy them every weekend.

The rivers became a huge part of my life because I grew up visiting my father in southern Oregon. He worked for the US Forest Service, reforesting the Siskiyou National Forest. I was one of those weird children that had posters of Woodsy Owl and Smokey the Bear all over my room. When I visited, we’d spend weekends camping, hiking, swimming and rafting. He always knew the best spots. My love for anything concerning water and nature came from the experiences my dad gave me.

It always amazes me how nature can bring peace to your soul. I know I’m sounding all hippie-esque right now, but it’s true. I just wish I had realized it earlier. Somewhere along the way, I became an outdoor girl trapped in an indoor girl’s life. I became more interested in going to Disneyland, taking a cruise, or spending a weekend at a spa than taking a walk or riding a bike. I still enjoy the trips, and hope I’ll have the opportunity to do them again, but when you’re starting your life over, those things definitely aren’t within the budget. And that’s okay. What I realized sitting on that beach in Santa Cruz was that I’ve found a peace that doesn’t require fancy things and luxurious trips. It never was what made me happy. It was only a distraction and something to look forward to when life wasn’t so great. What I find value in now is completely different because I’m happy with my life, satisfied with the things I have, and grateful for the people in my life. Everything that comes along now is just extra icing on the cupcake.

Until next time…


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2 Responses to Rivers and Oceans

  1. marijee/Ann says:

    I know what you mean by being near water…oceans or rivers. I love the sound the water makes. It’s so powerful and makes you realize how amazing the forces of nature are. I love to kayak and spend as much time as I can on the water during the spring, summer and fall. The river is always changing due the ebb and flow of water throughout the year caused by rain, sun or the tides. You are lucky to live on the coast and I am lucky to live in the Willamette Valley where I can kayak the Willamette, the Santiam or hundreds of lakes in the mountains.

    I am so glad you shared this with us. Connecting with nature is something we all need to do to sooth our souls. Thank you!

  2. Breaking Aurora says:

    This makes me think of the 70′s song “Cool Change” by Little River Band — it’s cheesy and wonderful but seems to fit your current situation perfectly :-) Sorry there’s not an official video to go with it, but look the song up on YouTube — I couldn’t place a link here. Enjoy!

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