Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

Beach Picnic

Joy seems so subjective. I respond with a sense of joy when I am in an environment, having an experience that nurtures those characteristics that make me who I am, and magnifies all that is good within me. When I experience joy it is because I feel more whole, more wholesome, more at one with all that is beautiful.

I felt joy when I stood on this beach below Heceta Head Lighthouse on the Pacific coast of Oregon. I was a distance away from the trio, but they appear to be a grandmother, son, and grandson having a picnic on a driftwood log. The son is lost in thought as he gazes at the ocean. The grandmother and grandson are gazing at each other, engaged in an interesting conversation.

I feel joy as the experience triggers memories of my grandmother introducing me to a world that is so big and so new and so mysterious. Memories of beaches big and small, the smell of sand and water. Memories of getting lost in quiet moods that allowed my mind to imagine doing great and wonderful things. My joy comes from deep within, where love and memories reside, and wells up brand new as I experience this beach for the first time.

Possibly there are other WordPress bloggers who have captured what you experience joy to be. You can check it out at:


Morning on the Beach

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We were mesmerized by the beach that morning. How can we be 70 years old and been on so many, many beaches but have this one be so new, so fresh. The warm sun from the east and cool breeze from the west have been felt before but this experience never grows old.

What strikes us is the flatness – the way the waves start far from the beach and continue to move, move gently further and further onto the sand, getting our feet wet. A wave starts to break and the crest moves up and down the beach, another right after it, another and another. We laugh at the wonder that they never stop coming even though we understand the nature of the tides and waves. We had this same conversation ever so long ago about the Betsy River’s endless flow to Lake Michigan – never stopping.

There is a solitude that we feel, each moving on then reconnecting. Maybe it comes from the mist rising up the distant hills, the quiet, the vastness, the blue ocean that goes on forever until it merges with the blue sky. Maybe it is the water molecules of our bodies merging with the water molecules of the sea. We are at peace, but aware of the ocean’s might, its power and strength.

We feel a sense of discovery, seeing things not seen before. We marvel and question, but have enough experience to venture answers. Excitement and awe co-mingle with the solitude.


By the Sea, By the Sea…

“By the sea, By the sea, By the beautiful sea; You and me, You and me, Oh how happy we’ll be.” There is a song, I think from the 20’s, with this line – and this is about all I can remember from when my mother was playing the “oldies” in the 40’s & 50’s.

WP Weekly Photo Challenge is “Sea” and we are by a sea that we don’t see very often – the Pacific. How different from the Great Lakes’ Shorelines and the Gulf Coast of Florida. We don’t normally see a rocky beach.

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The sea smell is different and this surprises me because I spend time near the salt water Gulf of Mexico. Where we are now has a stronger smell of fish and seaweed and salt. I always take in great big, deep breaths when I am close to large bodies of water and the smell feels familiar to me even if it isn’t.

There also is a lot of driftwood where we are in Northwest Washington.

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I remember when I wanted to decorate our yard with driftwood, big pieces that had washed up on the the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior shores. I really wanted them but J. didn’t think hauling it up from the beach and then transporting it home was a good idea. I think he remembers too, because he asked if I wanted to take some home when we passed a big pile of it today. He must be confident that 30-some years have cured that crazy obsession. I am finding it a little tempting because there is so much of it on the beach here, and he has a bigger truck bed…

A similarity between the Pacific coast and the other coasts I love is the presence of lighthouses. Michigan has a lot of them and I have collected pictures of several. Yesterday I took this picture of the Admiralty Head Lighthouse that operated from 1860-1903.

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Next to the lighthouse is a bunker with big guns – at first we assumed they were from WWII but these were actually built in 1906 and decommissioned in 1951. The forts were built to protect the passage to the Bremerton Navel Ship Yards across the Puget Sound from Seattle. I am uncomfortable with war and the machinery of war, but then remembered that Michigan has forts on it’s “seas” although from an earlier period and made of logs. I guess each country has to protect it’s borders from other people who don’t play nice and that includes invasion by “sea”. As I have gotten older and know more I realize that there aren’t many time when it is easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys – history books are biased by who is telling the story. Did I say I don’t like war?

I am in a peaceful, happy mood today so enough about war and forts. I offer you the “sea” version of the peace dove.

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But even these have stolen a pork chop from my grill and a slice of pizza from my hand. Life is messy.