|View from the top edge - a long way down!|
|View off the left edge|
|View to the right partway up.|
We were on our way climbing the path to the high point that overlooks the open ocean and the sandy beach off to the side of it. As we approached, we saw a young child on the beach. There were two adults on the beach also and two more coming over the dune walkway. I watched but both pairs ignored her and went on their way. We continued to walk up the path and I spotted her again, now approaching the ledges with a small stick. She began to climb up and wander toward the ocean side of the rocks. No one was with her. No one was close by except us. She continued to walk up the ledges closer to us. I called to her and she looked at me and smiled. I asked her if the man on the beach was her dad and she answered something, but her voice was carried away by the wind and muffled by the waves crashing on the beach and rocks. I asked her again and pointed to the couple that was below on the beach taking pictures of the ocean - though I was pretty sure they were not her parents, as they were not paying the least amount of attention to her.
I again asked her where her mom was and she pointed in a direction where I could not see a living soul.
I got very close to her face, so I could hear her and she could hear me, and then asked her to take me to her mother. She willingly obliged, and began climbing down off the rocks. This took a while and I would have liked to have held her hand and helped her down, but decided not to do that.
When she got down I followed her across the beach. From behind the shelter of a driftwood lean-to on the far edge of the beach, a good distance away from the water and the ledge, a woman appeared wearing a trench coat and a brimmed hat. She looked cold. She began to walk toward us.
When we met on the beach, I told her that I'd asked the girl to take me to her mother, since she appeared to be alone on the rocks with lots of strangers around. I was concerned for her safety. Her mother said, "Oh, she's okay." I repeated my concern.
"We were watching her," was her reply.
I explained how we have lost people from these ledges when a waves hits them. She smiled and thanked me for my concern. I asked her if she was from the area. "Yes, Auburn," was her reply in a thick foreign accent. Right. If you aren't from the ocean, and in particular familiar with this beach, you tend to ignore the signs telling you how unpredicable the waves are and to be careful not to get too close to the water on the ledges.
She wasn't "from here", so I explained one last time how dangerous it was on the ledge with unpredictable waves, and turned to go.
The little girl asked me my name, and I told her Mrs. Smith, and that I was a teacher in the area. Her mom's eyebrows raised and she said, "Oh!" - kind of surprised sounding (and it seemed a little impressed?).
The little girl repeated my name. I decided against asking her what her name was, but instead asked her how old she was. She counted up 4 fingers to show me.
Anyone who has to hold up their fingers to tell you how old they are should have an adult holding that hand.