Mother Nature just can’t compete with the mall or the Internet

By Debra LoGuercio

©Copyright 2005, Debra LoGuercio, all rights reserved

It was as perfect a day as you can hope for on the Sonoma Coast. If you’ve ever been there this time of year, you know that a relentless hurricane-force wind with a wind-chill factor of minus 37 is typical in June. Don’t forget your down jacket.

But not this day. My Best Friend and Biggest Fan and I headed to Dillon Beach recently with our daughters, and the anticipated icy gale was merely a gusty breeze. We found a pocket of sand surrounded by sand dunes that captured the sun’s warmth and it was almost balmy. Not enough so to take off our sweatshirts, but at least we didn’t need ski parkas on top of them. You can’t ask for much more than that on the Sonoma Coast in June.

Now, your typical adult, hurtling through life at 90 miles per hour, knows exactly how to address warm sand and sun, with a hypnotic crashing surf and cool, caressing breeze: flat on your back, snow angel style, a giddy smile on your face, and a cold beer in one hand wouldn’t hurt. You can feel life’s stresses and strains seeping away into the sand.

My BFBF and I could’ve happily assumed the sand angel position the rest of the day. We both have a lot of seepage. After an hour or so of this bliss, I looked over at my daughter, expecting to see her in similar form. After all, teenagers have pretty stressful lives these days. They need some down time too.

But no, no sand angel over there. I found her slumped back on her hands, head cocked slightly to one side, eyes rolled up as if staring at some invisible ceiling, jaw slack as if a little drool might dribble from the corner of her mouth at any moment.


“I’m bored,” she moaned. This from the girl who, when she was little, could amuse herself for 17 hours at the beach with nothing more than a pail and a sand shovel.

“How can you be bored, surrounded by all this beauty?”

She just stared at me, annoyed. It wasn’t the first time she looked like that. I’d taken her to Yosemite to see the majesty of the towering redwood forest. We walked through a grove, pine needles crunching under our feet, the air so crisp and fresh it almost stung when you inhaled, and I stopped to take a picture.

When I was done, I turned to discover my daughter slumped on a log, same as at the beach.

“This is so boring,” she complained.

I pointed in exasperation to the incredible beauty of nature in every direction.

“Mom, you see one tree, you’ve seen ‘em all,” was her dry reply.

I asked her what she’d rather do.

“Go to the mall.”

It’s moments like these that make you wonder if the hospital has a “No deposit, no return” policy on offspring. And if not, is there an age limit?

The Yosemite fiasco was nearly two years ago, and obviously my child hadn’t developed an appreciation of nature’s wonders since. I asked her what she wanted to do instead.

“Go online.”

Sorry, the cabin doesn’t have the Internet.

“Call my friends.”

Nope. No cell phone access out here, and the telephone is “local only.”

“Watch TV.”

No television signal either. Nothing but the four of us together, enjoying each other’s company. For three days.

I could tell that scenario had her teetering on the edge of sanity, and my BFBF’s daughter, although too polite to concur, looked a bit underwhelmed. So, I offered consolation.

“There’s a little store sells snacks. And a DVD player in the cabin.”

Both girls brightened up like sunflowers at dawn. An hour or so later, they were happily munching cookies and watching a movie. The splendor of the Pacific Ocean crashing on the beach was in full view from a picture window, and there they sat, staring at a television screen. Unbelievable. My BFBF and I dealt with this untenable situation by grabbing a bottle of Merlot and heading to the sundeck to watch the waves. And to discuss that “No deposit, no return” concept in a little more depth.

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