Wednesday, March 14, 2007

sneaker waves

I'm blogging from the Oregon coast, enjoying my yearly retreat with Jesus at Rockaway Beach.

Scout's here too. She's good company and drags me out to the beach several times each day, even when the weather makes me want to stay cloistered in this cozy cabin.

We just returned from our morning walk and Scout has collapsed happily next to me. She's invented a new "game" which she lives to play--a game with no rules or rhyme or reason that I can see--but an activity that her tiny, spastic brain finds immensely enjoyable.

It involves a ball--or stick--or rock--or you name it--anything that can be thrown or kicked. I kick or throw the object and she runs like the wind after it. Sometimes she stops it with her head, sometimes she runs right past the object. Sometimes she barks at it--usually two happy yips--sometimes she just prances beside it, her tongue hanging crazily out of her mouth, waiting for me to kick it again. She never "fetches" it or attempts to bring it back to me. Often, she forgets what she's doing in mid-dash, and wanders back to me with the look of, "So, what just happened?"

This morning, Scout was so wild-eyed and sandy and sea-matted that I was glad we were the only ones on the beach. She might have frightened innocent beach-combers . . .

Speaking of being scared, every time I go to the beach, my youngest daughter, Candyce, gives me the sternest of warnings.

"Mom, you have to watch out for sneaker waves," she solemnly tells me. "They kill people all the time."

Candyce's terror of sneaker waves--which is quite real--stems from her orientation at Ecola Bible College (at Cannon Beach) a few years back. The speaker drew a picture of an enormous wave on the white board, then added a disemboweled stick figure, trapped under a log (I still can't quite picture a stick person with entrails, but Candyce assures me it was gruesome).

Since I don't want to be ambushed by sneaker waves or crushed by flying logs, I try to heed her advice. But my question is this: how does one watch out for something that sneaks up on you?

As I walked along the beach this morning, kicking Scout's ball, I kept my eyes peeled for rogue waves. They all looked potentially fatal to me--the power of the surf is so awesome! But Scout and I made it back to the cabin with our insides intact.
I just finished doing some research on these sneaky waves . . .

They are called sneaker waves because they appear without warning, often surging high up on the beach with deadly force, and are impossible to predict.

They often occur with the outgoing tide, and can happen in sunny or stormy weather. These waves form when bigger waves overtake smaller ones, creating greater speed and energy. Sneaker waves occur daily and are responsible for many deaths each year.

Beware of sneaker waves--and never turn your back on the ocean!
(from the Oregon Coast visitor's association)
Hmmm, I feel like my life has been hit by a few sneaker waves lately . . .