Today, I walked down to the beach just as I have done most days since I've been home on the Oregon Coast.
It's been so wonderful to walk briskly along the beach without getting winded or feeling like I have to stop and sit down on a driftwood log to have a smoke.
The beach in Cape Meares is off the beaten path and at the end of a dead-end road in a tiny unincorporated community of only 150 houses. Most tourists never find it. Or even know it exists... But once in a while an adventurous tourist will find their way to the Cape Meares beach.
As I was finishing up my walk, a young couple came over the rocks and down on to the beach. The woman was smoking. We chatted and they told me they were from Oklahoma and had never seen an ocean before. They asked me a couple of questions about the beach after they learned that I live here in Cape Meares. Then the wife said "Wow, here on the beach I can REALLY smell the salt in the air. I told her "Yes, away from the towns and all their smells, you really can smell the salty air. And sometimes, when it's misty, you can even taste the salt in the air!"
She took an extra deep drag on her cigarette. Then she turned to me and said, "Wow, breathing all this salt air into your lungs must be really bad for them!"
The irony left me speechless. I wish I had been able to come up with something clever that compared breathing fresh ocean air to breathing cigarette chemicals. But I just said "All fresh air is good for you!" and headed on my way.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink...