Earlier this year, I wrote a flash fiction piece about a man and his memories. It’s more about nostalgia than anything else. Love maybe. Relationships, for sure. And our lack of general control when it comes to all of these things. The entire story unfolded within a few minutes on a little stretch of coastline somewhere. At the time I was writing it, I didn’t have an actual beach in mind. I was simply describing a setting that just felt right.
Not too long ago, my fiancé brought me to Seattle. It was in early spring, but we were fortunate enough to explore the neighboring areas of Olympic National Park without difficulty. (If you haven’t gone, you must!) We stopped by La Push on the way back to the ferry as suggested by a cute, little lady we spoke to at the park. I’m glad we did.
To access La Push, we parked at the trailhead for Second Beach and followed the obvious signs. The hike was easy to follow. And it covered only a mile and a half at most. The well-worn path cut through a short length of dense forest where we saw foliage similar to ones we encountered at Hoh rainforest—except less moss. After fifteen minutes the tunnel of trees opened up into a bright and expansive shore.
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting since I didn’t know what La Push looked like prior. It wasn’t even on the agenda. We’d simply trusted a stranger’s kind suggestion and hoped for the best. And there we were.
The first steps out of the trail required some maneuvering through layers of driftwood. Now, these were more like logs. Not the twisty, sinewy kind that curved and bent that you often see turned into tables. These were more like giant, gray toothpicks. And somehow they were all piled up against the trailhead, like the last obstacle between you and the seductive shore.
We glided through this portion quite effortlessly. Much of this was done with the help of our super grippy hiking boots. The other part, I like to think, was my coordination and balance.
Words still can’t describe my first reaction when I leaped off the last log.
Suddenly, I found myself standing on the beach from my story. I’ve never experienced that before— to see a fictional word you’ve created unfold before you. It’s a wonderful feeling.
I can say it exists! And it’s perfect.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to read my story “Sadie by the Sea,” in the May issue of the Talon Review.