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My Planet: Short Sands Beach, Oregon

My happiest of places, Short Sands is the beach where I jumped in the waves (who needs wetsuits?!), camped in the woods with a friend after my high school graduation, flirted with surfer boys, leaned against big logs and wrote in my journal during solo treks, napped in the sand next to my trusty Rottweiler on many a summer day, walked down the path in the dark with friends to sit and watch phosphorescence on midnight waves, explored the rocks and caves and tiny waterfalls at low tide, took a thousand and one photographs of the setting sun (like this one on my 18th birthday), spread the ashes of our departed pups, and - of course - married my love one gorgeous morning a decade ago.

During the pandemic, while we were all asked not to travel, the citygoers ignored the orders and drove hours to the Oregon Coast, hordes of them crowding the beaches, traffic clogging the 101, litter everywhere and leaving no place for peace in the place I'd moved my life to be near, to enjoy the solitude. It broke my heart, and we left our coastal farm with frustration a year and a half into the pandemic, learning how little respect so many have shown for nature, for health, for planet...even in places that feel like heaven.

Someday I will return. Someday I will have another stroll across the wobbly bridge and climb over the logs to reach the place at the seashore that speaks home to me. Someday I'll exhale like I do nowhere else.


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