For the Thanksgiving holiday, Chris and I went to Oregon to celebrate with family and friends. While we were looking forward to spending quality time with loved ones, we were also anxious to visit the little town of Cannon Beach situated along the northern edge of Oregon’s coastline. Cannon Beach has its own thing going on and this fact becomes apparent as soon as you turn off from highway 101. Dozens of small boutique shops selling their unique and often expensive wares; short, winding roads that can be walked faster than driven; warm restaurants beckoning you inside with the smell of clam chowder, garlic bread, and grilled halibut; and a breathtaking view of the ocean. We were lucky enough to have a friend who lived in the area, so finding a parking spot wasn’t as much of an adventure as it could have been.
By the time the sun had situated itself directly overhead, we were making our way down to the beach. Wrapped in jackets, scarves, hats, and boots, we trudged through the dunes until the ocean came into view. We discovered that the tide was so far out that we could walk around the sea cliffs without even getting our feet wet. Our friend said that he hadn’t seen the tide so low in a long time and that we should take full advantage. No problem!
The low tide provided a wide sweeping beach that is rarely experienced. Dozens of purple and gold sea stars clung to the sides of the rocks feasting on muscles and limpets. Green sea anemones wrapped their tendrils around their centers to protect themselves from the elements.
Halfway through our journey we heard about a sun star that was stranded in a puddle on the beach. Hurrying to the supposed site we found a purple creature the size of a serving plate. Its 19 stiff arms slowly twirled around in a circle as it worked its way to a nearby rock. There, it latched on with the tiny suction cups under its limbs and waited for the tide to come back in.
The low tide also offered up a few perfect sand dollars, which I had never seen outside of a store (I’m sure many of these treasures found themselves in the insides of visitor’s pockets). A few plastic water bottles and soda cans were also found and we made sure those treasures were relocated to a trash can.
As the walk neared its end and we started our assent back to the house, I turned back to the ocean for one last look. As I squinted at the powerful waves and the distant rock formations that had endured wind, water, and time for centuries I thought of something John F. Kennedy once said, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.”