Wednesday, April 17, 2013

P is for Pacific

Imperial Beach, CA
P is for Pacific.

A long time ago, not that long ago, but still in my lifetime ago, I once lived in Imperial Beach, California. Having grown up in Louisiana around lakes and bayous, I had never seen the Pacific ocean.

Have you ever seen a wonder for the first time, like the Grand Canyon, or a mountain, when all you've known is flat land?  Well, I laid my eyes on that vast expanse of unending water and sighed. I could not believe the beauty of the blue endless water, or the smells of the salty dry cool air that blew against my face.

 After spreading my blanket on the warm sand, I applied suntan lotion, buried my feet in the sand, and then sat there listening to the waves roll ashore. I wanted to take a nap because of the soothing sounds. After awhile I got hot and thought I'd take a dip.

My husband sat there watching me with a curious smile spreading across his face.

I walked to the edge and stood there for a moment watching others play and swim in the water.  I started to walk into the water. I screamed, froze, and immediately turned to get out of the ankle deep frigid water. I turned to look back at my husband who's grin had grown into an excruciatingly painful guffaw.

The water was freezing cold, darn cold, like out of the refrigerator cold. I thought, are we at the North Pole? What the heck. My lips were turning blue. It wasn't just called the blue Pacific for its color, obviously. It was blue, cold blue.

We lived in California for a year. I visited the beach often and would sometimes sit on the cliffs and whale watch. (Another wonderful experience.) At night the heaters went on in your home in the summer, because the breeze off the ocean would drop down into the 50s.  In the day, there was no need for air conditioning, because the breeze was so strong it would blow your curtains toward the ceiling and cool off the apartment.

I adjusted to the dry air. I loved that my hair stayed clean and lasted longer than back home in the humidity. But, I never got past my ankle-deep water the whole time I lived in Imperial Beach. The week before we moved, I knew I would not be back for a very long time, and had decided I needed to go into the Pacific. I took a running start and didn't look back. I ran with all my might, held my breath, and dove in head first. I came up out of the ice water, screamed with joy that I had done it, but mostly because it took my breath away.

I stayed all of about two minutes and couldn't take it anymore. I ran out of the water to my husband standing there holding a towel for me. BUT I DID IT! I DID IT! I went all the way. I had never been so cold in my entire life. I've always wondered how people in Canada or Alaska could stand that cold, cold water of the Pacific.

To travel and visit your country is the most magnificent experience anyone could possibly have. I've noticed when visiting a part of our country I've never seen before, how people who live in that region take its beauty for granted.  I mean, heck, they see it every day, right?

What are some of your experiences when traveling out of your norm?


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Sharon Himsl said...

Hi. I love visiting the California coast too, but mostly San Diego where the water is warmer. As a girl, my cousins took me surfing once--it was my only time surfing but oh what a thrill!

Kathy Collier said...

My kids and grandkids surf, but I have never tried it. Thanks for your comments.

Jessica Peterson said...

That's very true that a lot of people take their beautiful locations for granted. Your story made me laugh. I live in Canada and the water is cold. Oddly enough though, when I found myself in Thailand, the water was so warm it was strange, beautiful and enjoyable but strange. The coldest water I've ever been in though was a little stream in the Rockies. It was water that ran off the glaciers and man was it cold!! Perfect for cooling off on a blistering hot day though. :)

Have fun with a-z.