All weekend long I fought it, tried to hold it off with a hike up to a waterfall and a drive by the river. After another rough week at work – wondering what I’m doing there and how I got so trapped – I was ready to scream with frustration and exhaustion. By Sunday morning I decided to take a chance.

An oil change, some fervent prayer-type activity (non-denominational), and I had to go. I felt like I would literally die if I didn’t get to the ocean that day, and as I well know, that feeling of desperation can make us all do crazy shit. For once, I decided to run with it. I needed the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves, more than air or pretty much anything else. I felt beaten and battered and so depressed that it was a last ditch effort to boost my spirits before I had to face another week.

Just getting out of town helped a lot. When the road finally curved around and the ocean came into view, I took a deep breath like I haven’t in months. The exhaustion and sadness slipped away for a moment and I felt like I might actually have a chance again. The sunlight broke through as I drove over the Astoria bridge on my way somewhere new to visit a lighthouse – one of my favorite things.

Because I felt so terrible, I stopped first and splurged a little at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Sometimes I feel a deep affinity with sailors and all things nautical, even though I’ve never been on the open sea. But depression feels like I imagine it would be in a ship out in the ocean in the middle of a storm. Wind whipped, half drowned by endless waves, no stars to light up the blackest of nights.

Then again, the ocean gives me the most amazing comfort and source of strength. I really went there in hopes of seeing the Columbia river bar in a fabulous fury, but all was calm and still in the cool sunshine. Even though I was alone as usual, feeling isolated and bruised by recent battles with the wolves – I returned later that evening feeling much better, faith somewhat restored (and completely amazed that my car got me there and back). Some people go to church, I go outdoors. More specifically, I go to the water.

Tower of Song – Leonard Cohen
Amado Mio – Pink Martini
Lonely Town – Brandon Flowers
You Don’t Know – Berlin

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