My mom walked with me to pick up my laundry in the laundry room one night at midnight while the kids and I were staying in Long Beach, WA with my parents. It was cold and very foggy as we walked back to the RV and we could hear the waves crashing just over the sand dunes. They sounded closer than we had heard them before.
“Those sound awfully big”, mom said.
“Wouldn’t it be neat to see?” I asked.
We looked at each other and quickly walked the rest of the way to the RV, dropped off my basket, grabbed our jackets and flashlights and headed towards the sandy trail leading to the beach.
We only saw a small circle of light from our flashlights before the light was swallowed up in the swirling fog and mist. We nervously laughed about whether there could be wild animals hiding in the tall grass that we were slowly making our way through.
As we came off the trail onto the beach I slowed down to a crawl as I listened to the deafening sound of the waves that were clearly closer to the trailhead than I had seen them before. Mom was much braver than me and grabbed my arm and pulled me out towards the sound.
“C’mon! We came all the way here, we might as well get close enough to see them.”
I followed, hesitantly, as we made our way to the spot where the soft dry sand turned into hard wet sand. We could barely hear each other over the roar. I don’t think anyone was on the beach with us, but there was no moon so I can’t be sure. We aimed our lights in the same direction to get a little more light and inched our feet forward until we came to the foamy white line that marked high tide. The waves rolled in only a couple of feet beyond that.
I have a fear of being swept away into the ocean so I was more than a little jumpy and mom kept teasing me and pushing me to get a little closer.
Then mom suggested we turn off our lights and let our eyes adjust to the darkness. We lasted about thirty seconds and then I squealed and turned on my light as I could see just enough from the starlight to see the tips of the white waves rolling towards us. We laughed as we saw that the water line was about a foot closer to us than it had been.
We turned our lights off and on many times over next half hour and laughed, and shrieked, and shivered.
As we turned to go I mentioned that I sure hoped we could find our way back to the trail.
Mom laughingly stated the obvious that we could just follow our footsteps back.
I giggled with trepidation a couple of minutes later as I realized the footsteps we were following were too big to be either of ours and we quickened our step as we veered our path to the smaller set of footprints to the left.
I don’t have a picture or a video of that night, but the chill in the air, the darkness of the sky, the small beam of light in the fog, the deafening roar of the ocean, and the laughter and fear I shared with my mom is burned in my memory.
We went to bed very tired and cold early that morning, but I am pretty sure that, like me, mom fell asleep with a smile on her face.
(photo courtesy of Sor)