Blog Post #3 Fun At The Beach

The beach isn’t a place most people think of as a scary place. To me, the beaches of the Pacific Northwest Coast are always beautiful, cozy, comforting. Years later I spoke with a friend who had spent time stationed on the Long Beach Peninsula, “You’re from there?” He asked, followed by, “explains a lot.” I learned with surprise that he found the area creepy. That the soft green strands of moss, which my parents told me were called witches hair, he found to be reminiscent of a haunted swamp. That the dark woods rife with a myriad of plants and small animals to be discovered, sent chills up his spine. Something clicked in my brain, could it be that my love of all things scary, exists because I find the settings so homey? My version of fluffy comforter and a cup of cocoa? Regardless of the reason, his comments solidified the direction of my work and made me see the potential for all things both beautiful and creepy in Pacific County.

Now when I visit the coastline, wind refreshing me, driftwood stirring the imagination, it’s not just relaxing, but inspiring for all things spooky. Recently I’ve been thinking of ways that time spent on the beach can go disturbingly off the rails. What if you were running for your life? Would you duck into a cave, risking that the tide might come in and drown you?  If stopped by the vertical rock walls of a cliff, would you try to swim out into the ocean and around them? To many this would seem incredibly stupid, knowing how the waves could easily smash you unconscious against the rocks, but if your only other option is getting murdered, why not risk it? How about changing direction and running into the beach grass to make your escape? How far do you think you’d make it running on the uneven ground, where holes and hills can surprise you at any moment, ready to twist your ankle? Running through soft sand can be almost as difficult as running through water, would you escape in time? Or would horror movie logic dictate that the killer (whatever it may be) continue to gain on you, regardless of your speed?

Let’s say you chose to stop and fight. There’s a great many things that can be used for self-protection that can be found at the beach. My mother always said anything can be used as a weapon if you’re creative enough. The first that comes to mind: sand. Grab a great handful of sand and fling it into your attacker’s eyes. If they grab you before you can throw it, then rub it into their eyes. Guaranteed only supernatural forces won’t be deterred by sand in the eyes. In some places there’s tons of driftwood, makes for a great defense, if you can find a piece you can lift. Some northwest beaches are rock beaches, with plenty of handheld makeshift weapons on all sides. Some even come pre-armed with the natural brass knuckles of mussel shells attached! The children who swarm these beaches on the regular are more than able to tell you about the damage a broken mussel shell can do to soft skin.

You might be thinking, why not grab one of those big pink seashells everyone associates with the beach? They even have a pointy end! But I must tell you my friend, conch shells do not appear on the shores of Northwest beaches. Broken clam shells, pieces of desiccated crab legs, shattered sand dollars often, but nothing that would make a decent weapon. A jellyfish maybe, if you could somehow use it to sting your attacker without first stinging yourself. Beach grass could potentially be used to strangle someone, but I will assume the attacker is bigger and stronger, therefore not someone likely to be strangled by their prey.

At this point, you might be feeling desperate. What could you possibly use to defend yourself if attacked on the beach? At this point, I believe I have come to the conclusion that the best offense is a good defense, and I’d like to recommend simply not getting attacked at the beach to begin with. The best way to go about this is easy, just don’t come to the beach. Better to stay safe at home. The wind won’t whip sand into your eyes, the water is too cold to swim in, and worst of all, in the words of a good friend, it’s creepy there. Better just stay home and read a good book instead.

Where in the world creeps you out the most? Do you enjoy any areas that others are disturbed by? Find me on social media and share your thoughts. And if you do decide to head the beach, stay safe. Never know what will get you out there.