I remember the first time I met the Pacific. My husband and I were driving through a Redwood grove in northern California, seven miles of serenity without another car in sight. It was then that I sensed her presence. There was still no sign of her, but the air suddenly began to stir with the promise of something bigger than the verdant foliage that had, until that moment, held my attention and my senses in its spell. I stayed on the alert for another mile, watching the road in anticipation, yet I blinked in surprise when the shade of the Redwoods was unexpectedly drawn back to reveal the Pacific in all her magnificence lying in the sunshine ahead.
My impatience to be near her made it seem as though we would never get to her, but it was not too long before we found a beach and parked. I bolted out of the car and rushed across the scraggly, wild-flower scattered grass then scampered down the rocky path leading downward to her threshold. When I at last found my way onto the sand that was clearly her turf when the tide came in, I stopped. I eyed her cautiously, measuring her power, wondering if I were woman enough to brave her strength.
As if reading my mind, she laughed a booming laugh and hugged me in a wind that whipped my hair back from my face, causing me to huddle into my jacket against her chill breath. The white froth of her surf rushed teasingly close to my feet before she retreated with a long sigh to regroup. I stepped back cautiously, thinking it wise not to test her too much, not just yet, not until this ocean and I got to know each other better, not until I knew that I could trust her not to sweep me away in a wild dance that would take my breath away forever.