Tourists, jammed into their cars, RVs and our streets, wander, looking for the perfect experiences to capture the construction of unforgettable moments. Spending hard earned time and money and devoted to the lists of must-sees, and dos and photos. Days spent in planning, saving, reserving, compromising, and dreaming. They come to this place, my home, with eyes full of wonder and wallets full of the purchasing power, upon which we depend. I sit here and watch, from my place on the hill, looking down at their hurrying and scurrying, seeking the delights of my home. Gazing in awe at this place; so unique in the world and so different from their own. From countries, counties, cities, and worlds far away they try to take it all in, on their ten-day trips and sojourns of staged events and long anticipated encounters.
And, it is well they should. Who am I, local though I be, to hoard this place in greed?
For nowhere, in this world, however much the same, can replicate this rare and exceptional place. Tucked on a coastline full of villages, towns, and cows; with its salt water beaches, fresh water rivers, and the bays that lie somewhere in between. Having sought out this place, this home of mine, as the vacation of their dreams. I try not to fault them in their journeys, that tie up traffic and jam our cafes and stores. To be patient, while they stop in the street for their photo ops and selfies. Striding onto our beaches in the belief, however misguided, that they are somehow greater than the sea. Jockeying for the best place to see the sunset and the waves crash. Yet, after all, they seek the same beauty and joy that I, too, relish. Every day of my life, mirroring their yearnings and feeding my soul with this slice of paradise, as if, my life too, is a dream vacation too precious to ever leave behind.
Stevie Stephens Burden currently lives in Wheeler, Oregon 30 miles from Tillamook, where she was born. Stevie is a storyteller, writer, mother, and grandmother to five. She was raised in Oregon and Alaska and often draws on her experiences from life along the northwest coast as inspiration for her writing.