“Look at that, have you seen such a beautiful monolith rock formation before?”
The young teenage girl stirred on the passenger seat beside the middle-aged man who was in the driver’s seat. Her eyes opened slowly, squinting through the curtains of painfully brilliant sunrays. She closed her eyes, moaning due to the strong and sudden sunlight, and rubbed her eyes. She yawn her weariness away as she sat upright on her seat, turning to look at her father.
“Good morning?” he offered, suppressing laughter as he watched his daughter’s dazed expression. The sun outside was high on the sky, signaling noon in this cloudless sky. His light brown hair was even lighter with the sun’s presence on it through the window shield, his jovial dark brown color eyes were looking at her.
His daughter’s black hair was disheveled and her almond-shaped green eyes were looking at him with half irritation, half incredulity. “You woke me up to look at a big chunk of basalt?” She asked in disbelief. She stared outside her father’s window and saw the Haystack Rock just offshore and indeed it was a very beautiful sight. The rock was set against the clear sky with the waves gently rolling and washing it. The Haystack was accompanied by two smaller rocks, one being tall while the other being short, but nothing compared to the grandeur of the 235 foot tall monolith formation. She couldn’t help herself but be amazed at nature and time.
Her father chuckled at her comment then asked, “How did you…?”
“Geography class,” she anticipated his question. “Remember I took geography this school year and aced it?” There was reproach in her tone.
Her father gave her a nervous smile, “you’re right.” His eyes glanced toward the sea once again and sighed. He had been driving for almost four hours now; it was a relief when he saw the Haystack rock and the sea, a feature that ended the monotony of pine trees and mountain sides. He started driving in the Interstate 5 to connect with the U.S. Route 101, the major US Highway that runs through the state of Oregon along the coastline near the Pacific Ocean. It was a two-lane undivided highway and during summer time the traffic was slow, especially if approaching Hemlock Street.
Brooke Walker gazed out her side of the window with a chest constricted by the unshed tears inside her heart. Her father had been absent for a great part of her life ever since her mother died seven years ago, his work and researches always kept him away from home. She lived with his divorced uncle and his ten year old pest of a cousin. She looked up into the endless sky, a feeling of loneliness emerged inside her; her seventeenth birthday was close, as well as her mother’s tenth anniversary of death. Her mind wandered off into nothingness; lately she had been doing that a lot, which made the solitude feel more prominent and worse.
Arthur Walker had rushes of guilt crowd his consciousness as he watched Brooke in silence. He was always busy with researches and projects that Brooke occupied only a sliver of his mind. He meant to change that, but as Brooke grew older she also grew rebellious to his attempts to mend their relationship. He worked abroad most of the time and the projects and scientific researches lasted long, he couldn’t allow his daughter to have his same lifestyle: always in different parts of the world, never settling for more than six months before being on the move again.
Luckily this summer he had no work and could spend it with his daughter, much to her dislike. She blamed him for ruining her plans of hiking and camping with her friends when he refused to let her go. However, he was sure that this summer together was all they needed to mend their relationship. There was also another reason behind his decision for their vacationing spot: Cannon Beach.
“Maybe we can visit the structure before going to our summer house,” Arthur said conversationally, in an attempt to break the uncomfortable silence. “We have a low tide. The tide pools in the haystack rock are home to starfishes, sea anemone, crabs, sea slugs and many other intertidal animals as well as for some sea birds such as puffins…”
“Dr. Arthur Walker, the marine biologist is speaking,” Brooke announced sarcastically, “yippee.” She was in no mood to hear her father lecture about sea life and animals; nobody could stop him when he got excited about the subject. His job as a scientist always kept him busy and up to some extent she could understand it. She loved the sea almost as much as he did and was always captivated by its “magic” every time she thought about it. She tried to repeat that to herself every time she blamed him for not being there for her.
Arthur was silent, Brooke was annoyed and he could clearly perceive that. In the first place, she was vexed at the idea of spending summer vacations in the beach with a father who was continually nonexistent in her life. “You will love Cannon Beach, I used to frequent it as a child and its proximity to Portland was a great advantage too.” He turned into what he called his “lovely little seashore town”, located in the north coast of Oregon.
Brooke gave a slight nod and then the town was in full view. She felt profound admiration at its light-colored fine sand beach and clean, clear water.