Wonder may be closer than you think

Connor walking down the beach
As you can see, there's not a lot of beach to enjoy…

 To complete this loosely connected trilogy of beach-related tales that started with seagulls and then moved to serendipity, let me share one other lesson I learned from my recent skimboarding adventure with my two sons.  

Our skimboarding “beach” is a half-mile walk down from the main beach at a popular state park south of Seattle. We’ve been to the park dozens of times over the last decade and a half. But in the past, since we tended to come here when our kids were younger, we always stayed in the main swimming area along with other happy, splashing families. Couples, kids and groups all tend to clump together in one stretch of beach like remnants of biscuit dough in a mixing bowl or the way moviegoers waiting to get into a theatre all line up in front of one door, oblivious to the other, open entry on the other side of the ticket booth.  

Trees by the water
Another look at how the trees grow right on the beach

On this day, however, our destination lies beyond the usual play and spray area. Getting there required two activities. 

The first necessitates, because the tide was in, climbing over, under and around the numerous trees, branches and driftwood that litter the way. In many cases, the trees protrude horizontally from the steep hillside that drops down a mere five to ten feet from the high tide mark. You have to practice your hurdles or limbo moves to get by these deciduous barricades.  

 The second means witnessing a part of this stretch of shoreline I thought I knew but clearly didn’t. A hundred yards past the normal boundary of our experience lay a world I’d never seen, a stretch of coastline that could have been someplace on a different island or continent.  

What I found this day wasn’t anything dramatically new, but familiar objects like rocks and trees that I saw in a new way. Let me share a few of these small wonders with you. The images most likely won’t convey the total experience, but they rarely do. That’s why so much of the most meaningful moments of wonder on a trip are meaningful to you alone. 

Walrus log
On this beach, water, wind and time create a virtual sculpture garden. This particular log actually looks like a walrus if you get the right angle and use a lot of imagination.

Dog Log
This one requires less squinting and imagination to see the doglike shape of the log.
Tree roots wrapped around rocks
One of the most fascinating things this day was the interplay between objects captured best in this image of dead tree roots that have grown around and captured the rocks
Roots around rock - close-up
A closer view of how the tree has enveloped its neighbor.

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