Thursday, May 13, 2010

Swept Away

Cheryl-Anne Millsap
Special to The Spokesman-Review
April 14, 2010

I was busy with other things. My mind was on early spring chores like clearing away the winter clutter of boots, shovels and mate-less mittens; sweeping last year’s bitter-end-of-autumn leaves and pine needles off the patio; tidying up the garden getting it ready to plant again, to fill with new green growth.

I certainly had enough to think about.
But, suddenly, when I wasn’t paying attention, while my back was turned, a longing for the ocean swept over me in a wave of pure desire. Scraps of memory, images of other trips to the coast, distracted me and tripped me up. I lost my forward momentum. I lost my place.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was the basket of stones I’ve gathered on past trips that sits in a corner of the patio. They’re always there but I do forget to stop and look at them. Maybe it was the way the wind whipped at my hair and pulled at my clothes while I worked, the way it does at the shore.

All I know is that in an instant, I didn’t want to putter around the house anymore. I just wanted to get in the car and drive until I hit the edge of the continent.

Now, all I can think of is getting to the wild and rugged Pacific coast. I want to run away to a favorite cottage tucked into the hillside of a quiet little town. Just for for a few days.

I didn’t realize I was so hungry for solitude. Now, I am craving time to myself to walk on the beach with the sound of the waves in my ears and the sting of the wind against my skin. I want the luxury of sitting by the fire, my hands wrapped around my coffee cup, beside a window that overlooks a wide horizon of endless water and sky. I want time to think. To solve problems. To make resolutions. To surrender to an ancient and inescapable rhythm.

A long time ago, I fell in love with the Oregon coast. And like any true love, it never goes away for long.
I was busy when I drifted into daydreams about the sand and the waves. My hands were occupied when my mind caught the current and was pulled out to sea. For days now, as I do all the things that are expected of me, as I work and drive and put meals on the table, my mind has been miles away watching clouds scuttle across the sky and sea birds wheel and dive.

The idea of running away surprised me and wrapped its arms around me. Why should I resist? Why shouldn’t I turn around and return the kiss?
So, my calendar is open with red circles around empty squares. The number of the rental agent is on my phone.
The sea is calling me. And I could never play hard to get.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons,” and her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio as well as public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at

No comments:

Post a Comment