There may be no activity more peaceful and settling to the soul than watching the sun set. Here, at the most northwestern corner of the contiguous United States with the sand of Shi Shi Beach between your toes, these feelings are only exaggerated. Before us, is the expanse of the horizon blending effortlessly into the cool water of the Pacific Ocean. Every breath is filled with salt and when mixed with the setting, it only stands to purify those claiming this patch of land further. We are lucky to be here in this moment. We are blessed in every form that those loyal to divinity seek. We are alive and the sun proves it.
As our star gives way to the forces of night, new sources illuminate the landscape. Stars hang from the heavens like vines from the densest jungle canopy. All you can do is stare and wonder. Planets, stars, solar systems, universes and galaxies, all things named by man in an attempt to make you feel small. A feeling apparent to those of us willing to listen. A feeling necessary for our sense of discovery and invention to flourish. As soon as this thought lands, our first major discovery comes to life. A fire now roars and warms. We look up and down the beach to find we are not alone in our need for light, warmth and a focal point. I pull myself closer to its radiance. I am lucky to be alive and this fire proves it.
Soon conversation gives way to quiet and calm. Words are not hard to come by, but nothing seems to fit in the moment. Now, it is time for bed. We retire to separate tents; provisional shelter meant to keep the elements at bay. Try as our tented walls might, they cannot keep the crashing of the ocean and its rhythm from our ears. Acting like a metronome, each sound and movement of arriving water guides me gently to sleep. I pull my sleeping bag close and refuse to fight the urge. I am lucky to be alive and the Pacific Oceans proves it.
Then a new thought, a sleeping pad would be nice. Despite a valiant effort to smooth the sand, every twist, turn and flop creates a new divot. My back isn’t happy with me. Every 30 minutes or so, I am forced to move and try to the make best of the situation. As the clock trudges forward, I am forced to come to terms with the situation. I am going to be uncomfortable until I can get home into my bed. The comfort and warmth of my bed helps me sleep. I am lucky to be alive and my access to shelter proves it.
After a long night of tossing and turning, our star rejoins us. It is slowly burning off the fog and rousing me from a sleepless state. Breakfast is served. Very few words are exchanged. “Morning people” are masters of just acknowledging your presence. “I see you and that should be enough.” Camp is soon shoved into bags and we try to leave no trace behind. The trek back up the cliff won’t be easy. As I look at the ocean one final time, I am reminded being amongst nature is once again worth the effort. I am lucky to be alive and Shi Shi Beach proves it.
Be good to each other,