January 9, 2012

dead horse bay

In the spirit of eeking out as much as possible from our last term in the city - and from the last weeks of Will's break - we spent Saturday at the beach. Trips to the beach used to figure heavily into our free time in the days before children. It was our version of a cheap date. For a few gallons of gas and $2 worth of bait, we could spend half a day at the beach netting crabs, poking though tide pools and wandering down the beach. And then, at the end of the day, we could drive home with a bucketful of dungeness crab, often more than we could possibly eat in one sitting, and have a (basically) free feast. Even after the kids were born, the beach figured highly in birthday trips, days off and mental health days. I crave the beach the same way I crave chocolate, and salty snacks. In fact, the perfect day for me involves going to the beach with chocolate and salty snacks.

No before I go on, I should clarify something. When I say "beach" I'm talking about the Northwest version of the place where water meets sand (or rock). I realize that to much of America, and probably most of the world, the phrase "going to the beach" concurs up something along the lines of this.

But for those of us who grew up with the beaches of the Pacific Northwest, this is our idea of the perfect day at the beach.

What can I say, we're sweater people.
So heading out to the beach in January seemed like a good idea. Plus, it was a balmy 57 degrees on Saturday, which after our 12 degree morning last week, seemed positively sweltering.
Dead Horse Bay is not, even by Northwest standards, your normal beach. Sure, its got sand and water and rocks and reeds, all the basics. But it also has heaps of 100 year old plus garbage.

Once upon a time, up until the 1930's that is, Dead Horse Bay, along with being the site of several horse rendering plants (hence the name) was a garbage dump for the city, which, I know, doesn't sound very appealing. But really, it's pretty fascinating because after a century, all the nasty has rotted away and what's left are billions of bottles, trinkets and odd bits of shoe leather. It's a scavengers paradise.

We each left with a bag of treasures and now have a very nice collection of bottles of all sizes and colors, a jar full of shells and some funky little objects including Evie's favorite - a figurine with a stamp reading "Made in Occupied Japan" on the bottom, and came home exhausted. As much from the 1 1/2 hour subway/bus trek each way as by the actual beach. Sprawled on the couch that evening, Briton declared that it had been a great adventure, but was probably enough "going" for one weekend and could we please spend Sunday doing absolutely nothing? Which we did.

And that was equally glorious.