Last week I spent a few days camping at the coast and had the loveliest time there. I know it’s touristy but Fort Bragg, CA is probably one of my favorite little places in this entire state. The town itself is cute as hell, the locals are all just the coolest (always gotta give a shout out to the Surf Shack guy, literally so chill.) There’s also Egghead’s, like… damn, my kingdom for a breakfast at Egghead’s, man. Though I’m also going to be honest, a big part of my love for this little town is sentimental. It’s just special to me, has fond memories. It’s popular for good reason. I aspire to either live there one day or at least live in one of the nearby towns along the coast highway. Caspar is actually so underrated. Albion is adorable.
Then there’s just the ocean itself. How can something be so beautiful and so soothing and actually exist in the real world? Every time I see it is just like the first time. I’m just in awe, always. Massive, it feels almost infinite to look at, and the way it breathes is just like… this sound that makes me feel like regardless of it all, everything will be alright.
I can’t help but feel reverence knowing that all the beautiful, foamy blue bits are just the surface and that underneath is an entire world I’ll never know, a kind of cold that I can’t even imagine. I don’t have any sort of thalassophobia but I entirely understand why that’s a thing for some people. You’re supposed to feel small when you look at it.
Even then, there’s this romantic element about the ocean in my mind—like she’s this massive entity, a cryptid in her own right, yet despite all the beauty and horror we know and don’t know, she moves with the moon. Reaches for it, even. It’s wild to me how Greek mythology painted the romance of Selene and Endymion when the real romance should have been the moon itself and the ocean. Wherever the moon goes, the ocean does her damndest to follow and like… we are literally so small in that path. The smart thing to do is just not to fuck with it. Step aside and let these gods do their thing. We’re lucky to be bystanders.
The redwoods that grow native to the region soak up the fog and grow to be absolutely massive. Everything the ocean touches seems like it could become massive if not restrained, if the conditions are right. There’s a certain kind of earthy, soil & sequoia scent in those woods that lingers in my mind still and I’ll be imagining it vividly for as many days as I can until the memory no long retains that sensory element. The longer I can hold on to it, the better—everything about the cool humidity in the air and the green scent is as healing as it is motivating.
Regardless of it all, everything will be alright. The ocean’s still there, still breathing, all while those massive trees have the privilege of witnessing that existence, of sharing in it. All of these things are so old but so alive. I came home feeling the same shift in perspective as I felt the first time I got to see it all and I’m grateful for the reminder. I’m grateful for the sensations and the kind of meditation I feel I’ve only ever been able to experience while listening to those breaths. I feel quite a bit lighter now yet at the same time I feel like the emotions are overflowing—but in a good way.
I want to remember that months from now when the memory of the trip starts to dull and mingle in with the rest of the archive in my mind. I want to remember that all those massive, beautiful things are there and they’re alive and all I have to do is go there again. It’ll still be there, it’ll always be there.