Vacation to ocean ended too soon

So as the wizard tells her the way to return to Kansas, Dorothy dutifully clicks together her heels and incants, “There’s no place like home … there’s no place like home … there’s no place like home…”

Yet with a hint of wistfulness in her voice, for the magic of Oz that she is leaving behind.

Okay, I heard that last part from a lady talking about movies on the TV the other night; I never really noticed it myself. However, it rings no less the truth, since she is a movie critic and I am just a movie fan.

It rings true, as well, when we return home from someplace that is, or which we anticipated being, magical and marvelous. Witness our spring break excursion to San Diego, a land I had long held in fabled wonder.

Oh, and it was, wonderful, that is. There was the beauty of an ocean, and of beaches, though I must maintain that the Atlantic beaches are, to my eastern-raised eyes, more beautiful. Additionally, from what I could see (and there was much we didn’t have time to see), these were more surfers’ beaches than snorkelers’ and divers’ beaches, though I suppose if we’d had time to hit a dive shop, we could have found out more.

Oddly enough, yet in keeping with the odd winter we have had, the weather in San Diego was actually colder than the weather here on the high plains. Our tactile contact with the ocean was limited to feet, and that was mostly so we could say that we had, indeed, gone in.

Nonetheless, the ocean is the ocean, and exudes its mystical charm. I did get to commune with my favorite Pacific Ocean memory; huge squadrons of brown pelicans can still take one’s breath away when they soar overhead, arrogantly ignoring everything of a lesser form of life— which, it seems, is almost everything.

It’s awesome how that which is so ungainly and unattractive on land can become so majestic when airborne.

Then there was Sea World, as seen through the eyes of an animal loving 6-year-old. I kid you not, this child was so enchanted on our day there, and so fully scheduled, that she didn’t even pester to go on the rides. I am not sure she even realized that there were rides. She did, however, grieve that she cannot keep as pets a sea lion, dolphin, orca, and aquarium full of sharks.

Yes, she is being properly taught that they are orcas, not “killer whales.”

Finally, as Jimmy Buffet sings, there was “that one particular harbor.” I did not know that Coronado Island, with its requisite haunted hotel, existed, but I sure am glad I know it now.

This is a place which one wishes for a week, not simply a day, to explore. The ferry ride over gave Mikayla her first boat ride, as well.

Oh, and, convinced as she was that the Pacific was loaded with sharks waiting to devour little girls, she would swear that, on that boat ride, she saw “lots and lots of eyes and big sharp teeth” in the waves.

The ferry ride back due to a fortuitous ticketing mistake gave us our one brief respite of romance, as we ended up riding a larger boat on a run which lasted half an hour, not 10 minutes.

So it ends, and with a wistful note of regret, we recite “There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home.”