Happy Birthday, Tessa!

My favorite place in the world is this crack in the Oregon coast. There is a rumor the place has a name, but I’m not sure if it does. It looks like one of the many scenic turn-offs on 101, the coastal highway. I stumbled onto it the first time, rediscovered it a second time, and have made two destination trips to it and not found it. One of these days, I’ll make another but I’ll probably take a kayak and find it from the water. My suspicion is the land was sold to developers, but I haven’t ruled out the possibility that something like the magic of Lost is keeping me from returning.

You park and walk down wooden steps and reach what looks like a giant stab wound in the rocky coast. If you arrive at the right time of year, when the tide is in, the ocean water caught in the crevasse looks like it’s boiling. The waves are pushing water into this tightening space and it’s roaring and popping. You stand on rocks over the edge and peer in. My fantasy is to one day jump in with a life vest and helmet on and just allow myself to float in all the violently churning water. I would tie a rope to my waist with the other end tied to a tree, so I could climb out if I ever decided I wanted to.

The last time I tried to find it, I went down with my sister and her two daughters. We searched all afternoon and came up empty. One of the reasons the spot means so much to me is probably that it’s not popular. Hardly anyone is down there with you, but the downside of that is that you’re on your own finding it. We stopped for pizza about where I guessed it was and no one knew what I was talking about. I was pretty disappointed but the kids didn’t care. We saw the ocean, we played on the beach. We got a hotel room.

Our parking spot was far from the main entrance, under a separate wing of the building. Our room was on the third floor. As we were settling in, I realized we needed ice, so I left to get some. For some reason, Tessa came with me. I forget if I invited her or if she wanted to come. But right away, she was following me with the little ice bowl in her hands, and I realized this was it. Not the most beautiful scenic spot in the world, but wandering the halls of this cheesy motel was it. I looked back at her. “This is going to be an adventure. Where do you suppose the ice machine could be?”

She shrugged. I kept leading us all around the floor, chatting with her. I was having a blast. I didn’t care how long it took to find the ice machine. She seemed content, but she was eight. She wasn’t having a moment. She was just wanting to find the ice machine. She was on a mission. After we’d walked every hall of the third floor, we reached an elevator in the corner, so we got on and took it down to the first floor. We walked through a wing on that floor. Still no ice machine. But we got to a door, and I was kind of having an Alice in Wonderland feeling, so I was like, let’s go out this door and see what happens. So we stepped out, and we were right next to our car. I said, “Tessa, look! It’s our car! Did you ever think we’d walk out that door and find our car?”

Tessa said, “No. I thought we’d walk out that door and find the ice machine.”

She’s going to have to hear that story just about every time she gets together with her Uncle Greg, but I don’t care. That’s a great memory!


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