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Thursday, July 2, 2015

In the month of July I really start to miss Big Water and Beaches. Being that I live in the Heartland of America, smack in the center of the U.S. of A., I can't get much more landlocked. It's this time of year that I have to either travel to the east or west coasts or resort to memories of beach and ocean visits. Having lived in Florida for nineteen years I  have a zillion hours of sun and sand soaked memories of walking the Atlantic ocean coastline .

                                        St. Augustine, Florida

My dad grew up in Massachusetts, about twenty minutes from Cape Cod. Summer visits to see grandparents and cousins always included going to the Cape, climbing the sand dunes that line the coast, splashing in the cool water, often dodging giant spools of kelp. Unlike Florida, cars aren't allowed on beaches so there's a trek from the car to the beach, which is how it should be.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts in July

Cape Cod in November
Last July my husband and I went to Virginia to see the bands of wild horses that have called Chincoteague and Assateague Islands their home for a couple centuries. I'd wanted to go there ever since I read Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, when I was in grade school.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

A couple years before that trip, we went to Mendocino, California. It had been twenty years since my last visit to the northern California coast and I was amazed at how little the area had changed. Even the Agate Cove Inn, the bed and breakfast inn I'd stayed in before was still there. Different owners but still the gorgeous view, cozy accommodations and great food. The Pacific coast this far north is very different from the south end, just like on the Atlantic side of the country. Darker water, a little less hospitable, especially this far north on the west coast. Rugged cliffs, patches of sand that can't really be called a beach, but so what? It's glorious. Everything about it. The sight, sound, scents. I love it all.

Mendocino, California coastline

A trip to Scotland and Wales in 2011 combined my obsession with Big Water and my love for castles when I visited the city of Caernarfon, Wales and its castle. Caenarfon Castle, in northern Wales is situated on the southern bank of the Menai Strait between north Wales and Anglesey.

 The Mensai Strait flows into Caenarfon Bay, west of the city, which flows into the Irish Sea. From atop the castle you can see the bay and imagine it stretching out into the Irish Sea. A breathtaking sight.

So when I start pining for bodies of water that are so immense their opposite shores can't be seen, I pull out my photos and my rock, seashell and sand collections (I have bowls of sand from every beach I've ever been on), add a mental soundtrack of seagulls and ospreys, and let my ocean-side memories whisk me out of the Ozarks. It doesn't cure my longings, but I'm grateful for the memories that let me travel first class, totally free, until my next visit to an ocean.   

Any ocean-side memories of your own? Have you written scenes set on a beach?

Polly posts on RB4U's blog on the second of every month. You can find out more about her and her books at her website:
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Cara Marsi said...

I love your pictures, Polly. You've visited some major beaches. I live in a beach state, Delaware. Although we have a world-class beach here, Rehoboth, growing up, my family went to Atlantic City and Wildwood at the Jersey Shore. I met my husband in a bar at the Jersey Shore. I grew up within 80 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. I love the ocean. Been to California and Florida several times, even saw the Indian Ocean on a trip to Australia. I always said I had to live on either coast because I had to be close to the ocean. Now, however, I've fallen in love with the Southwest and want to live near the desert.

Judy Baker said...

What gorgeous pictures. I love large bodies of waters, especially the oceans. Living in Salt Lake City, I start to get itchy feet wanting to dig in the sandy beach, so we take a drive out to the Great Salt Lake, but it's not the same. Thanks for sharing.

Polly McCrillis said...

Cara, Going from ocean-side living to living in/near the desert will certainly give you a change of scenery! If you lived in the Southwest, say Arizona, at least you'd be fairly close to an ocean, and the Gulf. You'll be trading one type of sand for another!

Polly McCrillis said...

Judy, you're right about a lake, even the Great Salt, not being the same as the ocean. A lot of water, yes, but not the seashore life that goes with it. But at least you're near enough to take a drive. My drive to get to water is a two dayer!

Melissa Keir said...

Those are some wonderful memories. My love of the water began with Lake Erie but it wasn't until I went to the Atlantic during my honeymoon that I fell in love. My children think of it as their second home.

I've written many stories with beaches in them. I believe that it's because of my passion for the water.

Polly McCrillis said...

Melissa, I've written some stories with lakes as a setting but only one with an ocean and beach, but I have a couple more in mind. Won't be hard for me to set the scene in any of them.

jean hart stewart said...

I live close to the ocean in southern California, and the beach is always crowded. But I still love to drive along it, no matter the tide level. It'always beautiful. Thanks for the great blog.

Polly McCrillis said...

Southern California! Do I have fine 1970s memories of that end of California. Beautiful beaches then, haven't seen them since. Hwys. 1 and 5, unbeatable scenery.

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