It is a watered down lemonade kind of sunshine day, where the sun tries to break through the clouds but doesn’t do a really good job of it. There is no fog, just gray clouds. There is a wind, but not enough to whip your words away. You can smell the wonderful saltiness in the air. We are finally back at the Oregon coast.
Mick and I are glove in glove and with our hooded jackets zipped up. I turn to him and say, “Hey, we haven’t been to the Oregon coast since our honeymoon.”
“Yep, and I think it was a bit warmer a year and a half ago in July than it is in December. At least we have this whole beach area to ourselves.”
We had walked to the edge of a twenty foot drop off and noticed writing on the rock walls. ”In remembrance of Jake, RIP," I read. "What do you think that means?”
“Ah, probably just kids messing around, let’s see if we can find a way down closer to the water,” said Mick.
We could see the waves about one hundred yards out from us and a lazy tanker on the horizon. It was a great day to walk and chat. We finally find a little trail going down to the sandy area below us where we see remnants of old bon fires, seaweed, various shells and pretty rocks. There are some huge tree trunk sized logs also.
“Hey, those would be great to sit on if we’d brought a picnic. It's too bad we didn’t, huh, Mick?”
We walked the sandy beach for quite some time. There were no seagulls today, but winter at the beach was pretty in its own way. We continue walking parallel to the cliffs.
Mick pockets a really pretty shell. I am lagging behind looking for a shell of my own.
“Jo, RUN, RUN!”
I look down to see about an inch of water lapping at my new leather hikers and took off towards my husband. I sure don’t want to ruin these!
WHAP! I am hit from behind. My head is under icy water. I am trying to push up but my legs will not move as they are weighted down. By this time I am coughing, sputtering and terrified. I get my head up enough to realize that one of the “tree trunk” logs is pinning my lower legs.
“Joooo!” Mick cries as he sloshes out to me, grabbing my shoulders from behind.
I could be drown in two feet of water!
I choke and spit out, “Help, Jesus, Help!” as the water slightly recedes and the log crushes my legs even tighter.
Then suddenly, the log lifts even though the water is receding, as if there was an unseen hand reaching down.
Mick lifts me to my feet, “Can you walk?”
What happened, there was no water within blocks of us? We could have been washed away or I could have had my legs crushed by that tree! Thank you, Jesus!”
Let’s get back to the truck. You must be freezing.”
I think, Maybe that writing about Jake wasn’t just kids playing around.
We walk quickly and find the little trail going up.
“Why don’t you go to the restroom and get as much of the wet clothes off as possible and we can turn the car heater on full blast to help?” suggests Mick.
In the restroom is a sign that says “Hazardous beach in the winter, beware of rogue, giant sneaker waves”. I can’t believe this is in the restroom and not by the path going down to the beach. I take off my soggy, sodden, salty layers to find sand in my underwear, sand in my hair and ears... yep, sand in my mouth too.
Returning to the car, I said to Mick, “You will never guess what the sign in the bathroom says….”
“Come on, let’s get back to the car and get you warmed up.”
As the warmth stopped my chattering teeth and slowed my heartbeat, I said, “Honey, we could have been drown, I could have had crushed legs and hypothermia, we could have been dragged out to sea…..”
Mick turns to me and gives me a huge hug, “Thank God He heard us!”
Even though that day was over 23 years ago I remember it daily. The leather hikers are still my favorite boots, only now they climb mountains in Colorado. The pretty shell Mick found now resides in our bathroom. Written upon it is Psalm 55:16 “As for me, I will call upon God: and the Lord shall save me.” Neither of us will ever forget the hand of the Lord which was firmly upon us that nippy winter day.