I stood atop a dune and watched record waves come ashore at bizarre angles. There was no beach, only green, gray, black and white water. Driftwood the size of telephone poles, electric cars, school buses, and sideboards was being thrown up in the air. When the wood tumbled together it made the most unusual crunching and crackling sound.
I looked down the dune trail, the one I intended on taking and saw a gigantic wave send a shotgun spread of driftwood across the trail, approximately a hundred yards away, precisely where I would have been walking in several minutes.
That was enough. It wasn’t yet my time to die at the beach and certainly not death by driftwood. I descended the dune and headed for the car. Something to the right caught my eye. I saw a woman in the dunes carrying a small bucket. She came into closer into view and I put her at 70.
She headed for the beach and I changed course to intercept. We met.
I learned she was a tourist from Idaho and staying at nearby motel with her husband. I told her that in my two decades of living on the Oregon Coast I had never seen a more dangerous stretch of beach. I advised her to avoid it and the dune trail. She could be impaled or crushed by flying driftwood. She seemed surprised by my warning but thanked me and continued westward to the ocean. I watched her. She stopped at the end of the trail, paused, turned around, and began walking, presumably, back to her motel.
There is a good chance I saved her life.