We’re home from Long Beach, and I want to go back again.
Once a year, I coerce … no, that isn’t the right word … strongarm … eh, I dunno … how about convince? We’ll go with convince …
Once a year I convince my husband to take me to the coast, seven out of eight times to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Once to Warrenton and Astoria.
He relaxes and enjoys himself once we get there but he loathes the long drive.
Yet he knows I’m a girl who needs to be by the ocean. I get thirsty.
So this year he let me go to Long Beach, Washington, by myself.
Born and raised on a beach
I have faint but cherished memories of my time as a child playing on the beach in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
My mother would make peanut butter sandwiches, buy a case of Fresca, pack four kids into the Oldsmobile Cutlass and head for Mahoney’s Beach. Sometimes, we’d switch it up and go to Malignant Cove.
In May, when I was home for Mom’s interment, I took my rental car and drove around Cape George, with Mahoney’s Beach as my ultimate destination. I stood on the quiet, serene shoreline and saw us.
I cast my eyes to the general area where my mom would stake her claim, laying down the blankets and towels, watching over her four asshole kids and handing out peanut butter sandwiches.
My toes digging into the sand, I saw forms come to life in front of me.
I saw us. I saw us building sand castles, running in the water, swimming in the seaweed. I saw our little family in happy, younger times.
And I loved my mother more than I’ve ever loved her in my life.
To the coast
The beach is my happy place.
As much as living in Calgary, Alberta, made me fall in love with mountains and Mother Nature’s skyscrapers, I need the ocean to thrive.
The salt seaspray on my face and in my hair.
The sand in my toes … and my buttcrack.
A place to play and feel like a kid again.
I smile a lot more when I’m on the beach.
And Bella and I play.
This week we were in Long Beach, Washington, a new-to-us town and our Airbnb was right on the water. As I write this, I’m watching the pinkish glow on the horizon that lets the world know the sun is rising and a new day is beginning.
Our trip to Rockaway Beach this year was dreary and rainy. We made the best of it, of course, but I needed a do-over.
More than a vacation
I had other motives than getting to the beach to breathe in the fresh air.
When Mom died earlier this year and we sold her house on Church Street, I came into a bit of cash. The first purchase I wanted to make was the Nikon Z9 and a new suite of lenses.
The kit arrived three weeks ago and I needed the right place to break it in.
My favorite was the very first one I took on our road trip. We stopped at the viewpoint on the east side of Vantage, Washington, for a pee break.
The view of the Wanapum Lake section of the Columbia River is magnificent. What better opportunity to do an epic image of Bella.
Magnificent Bella, magnificent view.
All around the circle
My mom instilled in me a love for photography. During my childhood, she always had her Brownie film camera in her hand, recording the memories of her family’s days.
A photograph to her was an indestructible, irreplaceable item.
She wasn’t wrong.
She also loved dogs. They were constant, intimate companions for her.
She wasn’t wrong.
I know she was proud her daughter took two of her greatest loves and turned it into a business and, in turn, I recognize how vital it is to ensure your amazing moments with dog are photographed.
Frozen in time, these precious days that pass by too swiftly.
Bella turned 8 in March and I know she has fewer days ahead of her than she has behind her. I see her slowing down on the hiking trails, and I know we have to keep them shorter now.
I know life has to change as it did when Shep was entering into his senior years. And that’s OK, because it’s the time spent together that matters more than the activity.
The portrait sessions with Marika and Holly will forever cement that time together, a time when Bella and I were in our happy place, at the beach, laughing and smiling and running together in the surf.
Which cements Long Beach as another happy place, a new favorite place to be.
“My favorite ____” is the theme for this week’s worldwide pet photographers blog circle. My pet photographer friends are filling in the blank and writing about their favorite somethings, somewheres and somewhats.
When you get to the bottom of Jessica’s post, click the next link in the circle and then keep going to awesome places around the United States until you find yourself back here to my happy place, the beach, and a new favorite beach, Long Beach, Washington.
That’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.