Last Saturday, lacking any plans to venture off to far-away cities, I decided to wander around my own. My friend, Jon, and I concluded that since we live in a coastal city, there must be an ocean around somewhere. Oceans are beautiful. And fun. We should find it.
Well, neither one of us knew exactly where the ocean was, but I very rarely know where anything is, and that has never stopped me. Plus, Jon had a kind of general idea of the direction it should be. That was good enough. We started walking.
We walked for an hour or so before we hit water. Alas, it was not the ocean. It was a river. A pretty river, yes, but there were no waves and tides and gulls flying into the sunset. So we kept going. Rivers flow into oceans. It had to be around somewhere. After another hour, I told Jon that if we didn't find it soon, he was going to be carrying all 120 pounds of me back home because my feet were going to fall off. Exaggeration? Absolutely. But it was fun to watch him re-evaluate his confidence that the direction we were headed was the right one.
Eventually, we found the ocean. Yes, we had to crawl through a hole in a fence and walk up a huge dirt pile to see it, but there it was--the water that stretched out forever at the edge of my world. The sun was just starting to turn pale gold and slither down the sky, and the gulls were still flying high over the water--so many of them that their silhouettes looked like a black cloud dancing above the water.
We could not get very close to the water because, you see, there wasn't actually a beach. Or any sand at all for that matter.
What there was, was a long stretch of gray clay, pocketed with little holes of water left from high tide.
The gray ooze was keeping me from my ocean. While Jon found himself a nice little perch on top of the dirt pile and sat down, I looked down at the squishiness and evaluated.
Now, most people think I am impulsive. That's not true. Perhaps I do things that seem impulsive sometimes, but the actions are always carefully weighed against the consequences before I choose to do them.
Although, I probably should have taken off my shoes and rolled up my pants before stepping down into the wet clay ground. I started carefully walking out, as the ground got squishier and slimier. Finally, the inevitable happened, and the clay took my foot prisoner. And I mean, my whole foot. And leg. Up to the knee. Had I been barefoot, I would have been able to pull out, but as it was, the ground held my shoes and legs like quicksand. Fortunately, Jon had, by this time, joined me (feet bare and jeans rolled up like any semi-sane person would do). He and the ground played tug-of-war with me for a few moments before I was free. We then continued on out so that I could get pictures of the beautiful sunset, as it turned gold and then orange and then red, reflecting off the water like a thousand thousand mirrors, and then slipping behind the foggy city in the distance.
When the sun was gone, it started to get really cold, so we picked our way back to the road, sloshed through some pools of water to get off the worst of the mud, and then started back, eventually hopping a bus back home.
My socks were stained gray and my shoes will never be the same, but those pictures, and the ridiculous fun of that random day are a hundred times worth it.