Yesterday I spent my New Years day at Marin Headlands, where vast rolling hills compliment the rocky cliffs that hang over the roaring ocean. When my parents decided to take a nap, I embarked on my own solo hike through the mountains. I took it all in. Every shade of green and blue and brown complemented one another. A flashback hit me from when I was in 7th grade and spent the week here for camp. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about it lately, so I wanted to share it with you.
The night sky exhaled a cold wind as we stepped out of our bunks, running to meet our naturalists for another nightly adventure. Me and my best friend, Brinthy, met Casey, our naturalist out in the square.
She led us out to the beach. “Okay, this is what we’re going to do. You guys are going to turn your backs to the ocean. I will be watching the waves to make sure none of you get swept in. That means if I say run, you guys are going to run. Let’s practice that.”
We laughed. “Run!” she yelled. We ran from the shoreline.
“You guys will have to run a little bit faster than that, but good enough. So, every time a wave gets sucked in I’m going to tell you to dig, Okay?”
“Okay!” We chorused.
“Dig!” She yelled.
We stuck our fingers into the sand digging furiously. Every time we stuck our fingers in, the sand sparkled like glistening diamonds.
“Woah!” We exclaimed. She told us what it was that was sparkling at the end, but I don’t remember. It had to do with zooplankton or algae or something.
It was the next part that really stuck with me. “Alright, enough of that. I want you guys to get into a line, standing with your back facing the ocean. And I want you to cup your hands around your ears and just listen,” she told us.
I listened. I wondered what would happen if they stopped crashing against the shoreline. They were a neverending reoccurrence, but it was a beautiful thing.
“And,” she added gently, “every time you feel like the waves are getting closer and closer to you, just stand your ground. Once you feel like the waves are going to swallow you, I want you to look back and see how far that wave really is.”
The roaring waters echoed louder and louder until it became overwhelming and stirred my anxiety. I uncupped my ears and looked behind me. The waves were so far from where I was standing. They were so much farther from swallowing me than they seemed.