Monday, November 16, 2009

Running away from home

A while ago Jimmy started asking me when we could go back to the ocean. He must have known somehow I needed to get out of town--or maybe he was needing a change of scene as much as I was. I've been plotting a trip for over a month now, but then we all got sick and I had to wait until everyone was feeling better, hoping desperately we could make it before the mountain passes got hit with nasty winter storms.

Last Wednesday afternoon I loaded up the car with snacks, blankets, pillows, coats, hats, mittens, extra changes of clothes, waterproof boots, plastic pails and shovels, and headed west with Jimmy and Audrey. Jim had already taken off a few sick days, so he stayed in town to work.

We spent Wednesday night at my mom's, just south of Seattle, and then left in the morning for Grayland. When we got there, the weather was great for this time of year: partially cloudy, hardly any wind, and in the mid-50's. We had lunch at my great-aunt's house with her sons David and Francis, her daughter Anne, Anne's husband Eric and son Quinn, and some friends who were helping with the cranberry harvest. Harvest had just ended the day before, but they were busy with clean-up work.

Anne gave us a tour of the bogs, machinery and work sheds, and showed Jimmy how the cranberry vines are trained to grow in one direction and don't like to be "rubbed the wrong way", just like a cat likes be petted in the direction its fur grows. Jimmy had a great time running along the boards covering the irrigation ditches and jumping from side to side.

Here's Audrey with Anne and Francis.

She warmed right up to Anne and let her carry her around the bogs.

Before we left, Anne helped us sort a couple pounds of berries to take home so Jim can make homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. Thank you, Anne! Then we headed to the beach. It was so beautiful, I just stood and breathed everything in.

Jimmy didn't waste any time in starting to hunt for seashells and other finds. I put the kibosh on any crab shells (which stunk up our car for a week after our last ocean trip), but he found some snail shells, hairy cockles, and a very cool volcanic rock with lots of holes in it.

More beach combing.

It was really a perfect day, and I loved being there in that perfect place with Jimmy and Audrey: shreds of blue against the shell-colored clouds with shafts of sun filtering through, all reflected in the mirror of water on sand.

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